A LOT of very smart arguments could be made against the use of standardized testing in our national educational system. For instance, undeniable disparities in curriculum or resources on a district by district basis, not to mention the fact that timed scantron-centric achievement only reflects a fraction of someone's proficiency in a given subject. But for me the main reason against standardized testing is that too often the proctors are evil murderers looking to spread weaponized smallpox in exchange for cash and prizes. So unless these national testing companies get better at background checking proctors and making sure they aren't assassins looking to spread weaponized smallpox to test-takers, then I am against standardized testing PERIOD. Sorry to be controversial but I am speaking truth to power here, and so too is Teen Wolf, which just made a whole episode about this very serious issue. But more importantly we FINALLY got an outbreak episode! I love outbreak sagas. Sure, not everything can be the first half of The Stand, but generally speaking when people are spewing infectious black goo out of their face holes I'm happy. Unless it's me that's doing the face hole spewing, in which case I'm mega-bummed. But back to Teen Wolf: Weaponized smallpox! Yes!
Let's talk about it.
So we started off in a secret lab which was probably not very werewolf-friendly seeing as there was tons of of that black ash on the ground. Werewolves HATE that stuff. This guy knows what I'm talking about:
THAT is a sick werewolf. Not "sick" like "dope" (and not "dope" like "dummy") but "sick" like "leaking black ooze from his face holes." We've all been there, but this werewolf is especially there. And guess who does NOT care?
An evil scientist! Or whatever he is. An assassin probably, he just uses bacteria instead of hot bolo ties. (But also, James Urbaniak is a huge guest star for Teen Wolf! He's on Venture Bros.! And a million other things! He is great.) Anyway, then he replayed his cassette tape in which the Benefactor gave all the 411 on how to get paid once they murdered a monster. But guess who had a copy of that same tape AND a tape player?
Like, sure, a teenager with a cassette tape player. SURE. But anyway Scott and Stiles then had a big discussion about what to do with all the money they ganked from a tiny hunk's duffel and whether to give it back to Peter Hale or just maybe slip it into Derek's back pocket when he wasn't looking. Whatever the case, it seemed like they were VERY suspicious of Peter Hale possibly having ripped off his own bear bones just to pay these assassins while at the same time they kept eyeballing the cash because they were both so so broke. But before they could really work out their complicated feelings about financial solvency, there came a panicked knock on the door!
It was Malia! She'd just come from finding a mass grave in the forest, but she also saw them acting super weird about that duffel so she knew something was up. Forget about all those dead wolfmen, THIS was what she'd be preoccupied with now.
Meanwhile Derek brought a shot-up Braeden to the hospital. Romantic hero stuff.
And a hooded attacker went all Matrix on Deaton outside the animal clinic! But false alarm, it was just this old lady:
That is a strange way to greet an old friend, but to her credit her whole pack had been murdered that day so she was probably a little on edge.
Speaking on edge, TIME FOR THE PSATS!! And guess who the proctor was! The assassin guy.
Ugh, I did not do well on my PSATs, not going to lie. This whole scenario made me feel stressed and unclean. But at least it gave Lydia's mom a front-and-center role in at least a couple of scenes! Like this one where she shamed Coach for possibly falling off the wagon:
Also, did she call him Bobby? And did she call herself Natalie? These people are allowed to have first names now?? I'm okay with that. But I also liked how personally she took his alleged relapse, almost as though she'd been attending meetings with him all these years. I feel like there's more to this story, what about you?
Then the test itself began and the kids were NOT having a great time. Some of them didn't even know the correct number of pencils to use.
Some of them just seemed angry about it all.
Some of them straight-up lost consciousness!
But because Lydia's mom has a background in biology, she knew all the telltale signs of DEADLY OUTBREAK. For example, tiny rashes on wrists and also this:
At this point she straight-up CHASED students out of the school and put the Center For Disease Control ON BLAST. Usually on teen shows the parents never know anything and they overlook very obvious red flags but in this case Lydia's mom actually sussed out a bad situation insanely early and immediately got results. She is great.
Because yeah, within minutes:
The whole school was quarantined like Elliott's house in E.T.! But obviously that meant that several of the parents were concerned about their children:
This lady was not about to listen to Sheriff Stilinski stress about his possibly dying son. She WILL tell a Sheriff off and she will NOT care.
Meanwhile, that old Japanese werewolf lady brought a dying friend to Deaton mostly, I guess, to show us what happens when werewolves get this disease BAD.
I loved that his solution was just to bring a werewolf to the hospital. Uh, okay? But it turned out it was more to do with the actual doctor working there:
That's right, Mrs. McCall was now not only aware of the existence of monsters, she knew how to heal them! (THAT should be her side business if she needs to make a few extra bucks, right?)
Mrs. McCall's first order of business? Waking up this lazy bounty hunter and getting ANSWERS.
So what we learned was that the forest werewolves had died of a disease, but a second assassin had shot Braeden with a good, old-fashioned gun. Fair enough.
Meanwhile Lydia was at her lake house going through all of Meredith's sh*t.
It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Meredith was a major weirdo and mostly owned crazy old lady things like dried flowers and antique perfume bottles. But Lydia was hoping they would somehow allow her to contact Meredith from beyond the grave.
But no answer! That is my favorite recurring thing on Teen Wolf, when Lydia tries and fails to use her banshee powers. There have been 30 to 40 scenes like this so far this season. But the thing is, Holland Roden is such a good actress that I could watch a full episode of her monologuing to banshees that ignore her. This was very good and beautiful television and she is so good. Anyway, after that attempt failed, she found this in Meredith's box:
It had been taken in that very same room! Uh oh, Lydia's grandma had some 'splainin to do.
Back at school, the virus was starting to take its toll on the monsters.
We knew that it got regular people sick, but monsters had more brutal side-effects, like for one thing they would start to transmogrify uncontrollably, which as you can imagine is not the best situation for monsters trying to fly under the radar.
Later the CDC was taking blood samples and Malia tried to ask Kira what Scott and Stiles were hiding in their bedroom duffel bag, but all Kira heard was "Scott's bed" and her imagination started running wild.
And then she shocked the CDC lady! Relax, Kira. Extreme horniness is not a good look on a kitsune.
At this point the kids' werewolf features were starting to come out and they realized they needed to hide. So they figured out that there was another entrance to the Hale vault, and of course it was very poorly hidden behind an Ikea shelf.
I will never stop laughing about the Hale vault being under the school. So weird. On the other hand, I LOVE a secret passageway into a secret room, so I did sorta get chills when they finally got Malia (a Hale!) to open the vault door:
Another thing about this moment was they were worried that Malia would suspect something was up because she was able to open the vault, but it turned out she was more concerned about being on the death pool list and how much her bounty was. It was a super low bounty, but she was happy about that because it meant assassins would go after her friends first. (Uh, except the Wendigos were dirt-cheap and they got taken out first?) Oh, you rascally coyote.
So that buff werewolf victim wasn't looking so good.
And he died! And that made everyone kinda nervous about what the werewolf teens were going through. But at least Deaton could now drill into this guy's brain and find out what was the matter.
Back in the vault, this part gave me, what is the word? Feels?
Also they had an important discussion about the American financial system:
But since Stiles was doing pretty well with his symptoms he decided he needed to go upstairs and get better results. So he gave Malia his jacket and said goodbye.
Aw, it made me so sad when she curled up and started crying when he left. These two!
Also these two:
Derek likes this lady in my opinion.
So can we talk about how kiiiiinda dumb the solution to the disease was? Just a casual conversation between Derek and the old Japanese lady werewolf revealed that she drank a certain tea and that kept her immune from the virus. TEA.
And just for good measure the show provided US with a flashback that the people in the scene couldn't have known about:
And not only that, but Derek just so happened to have a mason jar full of that special tea and guess where he was storing it? IN THE VAULT. So basically, a few feet away from our heroes. Guys, I'm sorry, this was so dumb to me. But whatever, fine. TV logic.
Back in the vault, Malia had a close call with learning THE TRUTH. She found a certain list in Stiles' pocket and of course this list had her last name as "Hale" instead of "Whatever Name Her Dad The Dead Priest From The Originals Uses."
But fortunately for Scott, Malia couldn't read the list because she was DYING OF A DISEASE. And she wasn't the only one:
Meanwhile Stiles discovered the cause of the outbreak: That black inkpad that the PSAT proctor was using for the students to finger-print their scantrons. Again, wow. What a plan. So that's how the coach got sick, because I guess he'd borrowed the ink pad to stamp some permission slips. But the assassin was not about to simply let nature take its course in killing everybody, he needed to take some selfies with their dead bodies in order to get paid and he wanted Stiles to tell him where everybody was dying at.
I am not going to lie, this part was VERY disturbing to me! First just the sight of a gun barrel pointed at Stiles' head was upsetting, but then he started DARING the guy to pull the trigger? Man, I guess being possessed by a demon means you aren't as afraid of dying anymore? But then this happened:
But it was a fakeout because it was the ASSASSIN who had been shot! That still didn't erase the visual of a flashing gun and Stiles' face splattered with blood.
So basically Scott's dad had snuck in and shot the guy in the head and I THINK we were supposed to be relieved about that, except, the bullet exited out the guy's forehead, right? So how did it not then shoot Stiles also? I was never in the FBI so maybe they do things differently there, but to me it seemed like a dangerous situation and Stiles could have died even from Agent McCall's bullet. Look, I don't know, whatever. Stiles was still alive. (Have fun erasing THAT memory from your subconscious, friend.) But yeah, McCall passed on a message from Scott's mom, something to do with magic tea. I loved that he had to relay that insane message without actually knowing anything that is going on werewolf-wise. He is not a very curious person, is he?
Back at the hospital, the second assassin showed up and she was the girl who had been crying on the bench earlier!
But then the old Japanese werewolf lady went FULL-MATRIX on her, dodging bullets and everything!
Okay, fine, we get it. But all your friends and family just died so don't get too cocky, omega.
Then Stiles went and shouted through the vault wall about how to cure their diseases.
Fortunately Scott turned on his werewolf vision and apparently werewolf vision is a lot like in video games where the item you need is automatically highlighted?
There it is, the jar of magical tea! And it's so magical that you don't even need to make tea or even eat the leaves. Just shatter the jar and little tea sprinkles will drift through the air and cure you of your black ooze situation pronto.
So yeah, everyone was immediately fine. Unfortunately guess what Malia did right when her eyesight returned?
WHOOOPS! Now she knows who her real dad is. And worse, she knows everyone was lying to her about it. That's some bad friendship right there, but also bad boyfriendship. Especially that.
I think overall I liked "Weaponized" because it was a fresh new spin on a classic trope: The viral outbreak, but in this case with supernatural monsters who are trying to take the PSATs. I also love seeing this insane rogue's gallery of assassins and how they all have different M.O.s, that has been a great driving force for this season. Unfortunately there was some real dumb stuff here with regard to the cure and how convenient it all was, but oh well. These things happen! I am not going to coldly remove Teen Wolf's hand from my shoulder and silently march out of the vault. Not me. I want to see what happens next!
... Who is the Benefactor? Peter Hale or Peter Hale?
... Will Malia team up with her daddy?
... If you were a monster-assassinating assassin, what would your trademark weapon be?
... Do you own a cassette player still?
TONIGHT AT 10PM
Season 5 : Episode 7