Teen Wolf 1-04: “Magic Bullet”

We’ve got three final members of the Season One supporting cast to examine. Let’s get to it:

Kate Argent (Jill Wagner)
Chris Argent’s sexy, reckless, shotgun-toting, werewolf-hunting sister. She’s pretty evil, even by Argent standards.

Victoria Argent (Eaddy Mays)
Allison’s mother. We haven’t seen much of her yet, and I’m hesitant to drop spoilers, but… she’s an Argent. Make of that information what you will.

Peter Hale (Ian Bohen)
Derek’s uncle, who was badly burned in the fire that killed most of Derek’s family. Like most of the Hales, he’s a werewolf. Confined to a wheelchair in a catatonic state.

We first meet Kate Argent, Allison’s aunt and Chris’s sister, when she’s driving along at night, just minding her own business, not really even being evil or anything. This, we’ll soon discover, is something of an anomaly for Kate. She stops at an intersection, and a werewolf jumps on the roof and smashes up her vehicle and tries to eat her. She whips out a shotgun and blasts away at it; after it scurries off, she gets an assault rifle out of her trunk and loads it up with some fancy-looking bullets. She spots Derek, who is out prowling around on rooftops looking for the Alpha, and shoots him in the arm. The wound glows bright blue.

In his bedroom, Scott wakes to the sounds of gunshots and howling wolves and heads off into the night to investigate. He arrives at the scene and eavesdrops on Chris Argent and Kate talking about how Derek only has forty-eight hours to live. Chris is irked at his sister for shooting Derek—they’ll need him alive, if he’s going to lead them to the Alpha.

Derek, leaking black blood and growing sicker by the minute, staggers through the hallways of Beacon Hills High the next day, searching for Scott but finding only Jackson. Ah, yes. This will go well. Derek demands to know where he can find Scott, Jackson demands to know Scott’s secret, and mad aggressive sexual chemistry explodes out from both of them. When Jackson starts to get mouthy with Derek, it ends exactly as you’d think, i.e. with Jackson slammed up against a locker while Derek digs his claws into the back of his neck.

It is a magical scene.

Derek staggers out to the parking lot and collapses in front of Stiles’s jeep. Scott is preparing to bike over to the Argent house to study and/or fool around with Allison; Derek orders him to find the kind of bullet Kate used to shoot him, as it’s the key to healing his wounded arm. Over Stiles’s fervent protests, Scott bundles Derek into the jeep, then heads off on his own to see Allison.

So Scott is at the Argent house, where, despite a barrage text messages of increasing levels of panic from Stiles, his focus is on fooling around with Allison instead of searching for the bullet. Priorities, Scott. Save Derek’s life first; there will be plenty of time to snog Allison later, I promise. Allison, a former world-class archer, takes him to the garage to show him her weapon of choice.

Chris has hundreds of lethal weapons—assault rifles, crossbows, etcetera—stored in the garage, which Scott finds alarming; Allison blithely explains that her dad sells firearms to law enforcement. They smooch some more, until their canoodling is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Kate (amused) and Chris (not amused).

Kate convinces Scott to stay for an exquisitely awkward and uncomfortable Argent family dinner. Chris is cold and snotty toward Scott. He grills Scott on his job at the animal clinic and his knowledge of the recent animal attacks in Beacon Hills, then segues into a laced-with-double-meaning lecture about the behavior of rabid dogs: “It’ll even rear back and snap its own spine… And it all started with that one bite.” Ah, dinner at the Argents. It’s never dull.

Jill Wagner is pretty fantastic as Kate, by the way. In her scenes with Allison, who knows her only as her cool, laid-back aunt, there’s a trying-too-hard, near-manic energy behind her line deliveries that would seem jarring and out of place if viewers weren’t already clued in to Kate’s violent double life. In her interactions with Scott—her niece’s teen boyfriend—she’s friendly and flirty in a way that skirts the line of appropriateness. She seems nice on the surface, but there’s a whole lot wrong about Kate.

Meanwhile, on The Stiles and Derek Show (which is a spin-off that I’m pretty sure everyone would happily watch), Stiles drives Derek to the animal clinic to wait while Scott looks for the bullet. Derek alternates between threatening Stiles (at one point, he offers to rip out Stiles’s throat with his teeth, which: vivid!) and grossing him out by showing off his infected, decaying arm.

Excusing himself from the dinner table to use the bathroom, Scott rummages around in Kate’s suitcase and finds the bullets she used on Derek, which are filled with a rare and extra-toxic-to-werewolves variety of wolfsbane. Scott swipes a bullet and tries to make his exit, but Kate stops him at the door: She knows he went through her suitcase, and he’s not leaving until he shows her what he stole. An embarrassed Allison confesses that she was the one who rifled through Kate’s things, in search of condoms. You know, just in case she should happen to need one, for whatever reason.

Free to leave at last, Scott pedals off into the night, sporting a wide and adorable grin at this piece of strong evidence that Allison has every intention of sleeping with him.

At the clinic, Derek’s condition worsens. His arm is rotting, he looks like he’s decomposing, and he’s vomiting black gunk all over everything. Unwilling to wait any longer for Scott to save him, he whips out a bone saw and orders Stiles to saw off his arm. Stiles initially refuses, but Derek (who, just FYI, whipped off his shirt a while ago and is now looking particularly smoldering, even while half-dead) manages to be very, very persuasive.

Scott rushes in with the stolen bullet just in time to prevent Stiles’s foray into the dangerous world of amateur unanesthetized amputations. Derek ignites the wolfsbane-infused gunpowder and stuffs it into the bullet wound. His skin glows blue, his arm stops decaying, and the wound heals itself up.

…Yeah. Whatever, Teen Wolf. I’m not even going to try to puzzle out the logic behind that. Okay, sure, there’s anecdotal evidence about dumping gunpowder into a wound and igniting it to disinfect and cauterize it, but considering that the wolfsbane in the bullet caused Derek’s sickness to begin with, I can’t come up with any convincing wankery that could explain why shoving more wolfsbane into his arm would heal it. Other than, y’know, magic, which I suppose is the answer we should look to here.

Anyway, now that Derek is whole and healthy, Scott orders him to leave him alone, or he’ll run to the Argents for protection: “They’re a lot nicer than you are.” Great merciful Zeus, Scott, really? Didn’t you listen to Chris Argent’s cool little dinner-table lecture about how you have to shoot a rabid dog, ideally before his symptoms even begin to manifest, no matter how innocent and well-behaved that dog might’ve been before he was infected? It’s been established that Scott is a mediocre student, but surely he understands the concept of a metaphor, right? Properly disgusted, Derek drags Scott off on a field trip to a nursing home to show him just how nice the Argents really are. He introduces Scott to his uncle Peter, who’s been in a permanent non-responsive state, with half his face burned away, ever since those loveable Argents torched the Hale family home six years ago. Ten of Derek’s family members, many of them non-werewolves, died in the resulting inferno; Peter was the only survivor.

And we end with Kate behaving irresponsibly around gas fireplaces while she and Chris discuss their ongoing plot to track down the Alpha.

Fun episode. Teen Wolf sometimes gets classified as a comedy, and with episodes like this one (Stiles + Derek + bone saw = comedy gold), it’s not hard to see why. 


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