Teen Wolf 1-07: “Night School”

So we pick up right where we left Scott and Stiles, i.e. holed up inside the school at night while the Alpha loiters outside the building. Stiles is pretty sure the Alpha is the werewolf alter ego of Dr. Deaton, who escaped from captivity and disappeared right before Derek was impaled at the end of last episode; Scott is less convinced. The boys make a daring plan to leave the safety of the school and run for Stiles’s jeep… and then the Alpha hurls the jeep battery right through the window at them.

So, scratch that idea. Time for Plan B. With the Alpha in hot pursuit, Stiles and Scott hoof it to the locker room and hide inside the lockers, like they’re starring in a zany mid-eighties teen sex farce. Which I suppose they sort of are. They’re discovered by the janitor, who, suspecting youthful shenanigans, yells at them for a while. And then the Alpha drags him off and slaughters him.

This episode is really dark. By that, I don’t mean the subject matter—though, yes, the school janitor just got butchered, so that’s not terribly cheery—but rather that all the action takes place in an unlit building at night, and everything looks murky and blobby. I had to lighten up all my screenshots in Photoshop just to make it clear what was going on. It’s irksome. Everyone looks so blue.

Allison receives a mysterious text from someone claiming to be Scott, asking her to meet him at the school. Fun couple Jackson and Lydia come along for the ride, because everything is better when they’re around. When Allison insists on entering the dark school by herself, she and Jackson have this weird little moment where they get flirty with each other. This gives Lydia understandable cause for consternation.

Left outside, Lydia and Jackson, whose relationship is deteriorating by the millisecond, examine the damage the Alpha did to Stiles’s jeep. When Jackson sees the deep gouges on the hood caused by the Alpha’s claws, he heads into the school to investigate, with Lydia at his heels.

Inside the school, while Lydia makes an ill-timed visit to the ladies’ room, Jackson sees the Alpha standing upright at the end of the dark corridor, observing him. As Jackson watches, the Alpha drops to all fours and slinks away, moving in a very un-humanlike manner. So it’s probably safe to assume Jackson is starting to realize Beacon Hills is a seething hotbed of werewolves. When Lydia returns, Jackson doesn’t breathe a word of this to her.

Scott and Stiles finally meet up with the rest of the gang in the school lobby. The approach of the Alpha sends them all scurrying to the relative safety of the lunchroom. It’s probably worth noting that the scene is pretty chaotic—lots of the aforementioned darkness, lots of screaming—and that in all the madness, nobody gets a good look at their attacker. Which is just as well for Scott, since the Alpha looks like this…

…and if Allison had seen it, she certainly wouldn’t have believed Scott’s egregious lie that Derek is the one who murdered the janitor and is now hell-bent on murdering them all (Stiles to Scott: “Throwing Derek under the bus, nicely done”). As it stands, Allison is pretty darn sure Scott’s hiding something big and nasty from the rest of the group.

Over Stiles’s protests—he doesn’t want to bring the authorities into this, as he knows his father wouldn’t stand a chance against the Alpha—Lydia calls 911. As soon as Lydia explains the situation, the operator cuts her off, claiming she’d received a tip earlier that evening that some kids would be making prank calls about an attack at the school, then warns Lydia not to bother calling back.

Yeesh.  Pretty sure that’s not standard 911 operator protocol anywhere in the country. Sheriff Stilinski, there are some people working in your office who need to be handed their walking papers.

Stiles refuses to call his dad’s direct line to ask for help, which leads to Jackson trying to wrestle Stiles’s phone away from him, which leads to Stiles punching Jackson in the face, which leads to Allison rushing to comfort Jackson, which leads to a slew of startled and bewildered looks from Lydia and Scott. Eventually, Stiles leaves a message for his dad asking him to send help to the school.

The Alpha soon drives the gang out of the cafeteria, so they seek refuge in the chemistry classroom. There’s a deadbolted door leading to the fire escape; above Allison’s tearful protests and mounting suspicions, Scott offers to sneak out and retrieve the key from the janitor’s corpse. He’s unarmed, so Lydia breaks out the lab equipment and whips up a self-igniting Molotov cocktail for him, because that’s how she rolls. When she asks Jackson for the sulfuric acid, Jackson hesitates, then hands her the wrong bottle.

Ah, Jackson. Sabotaging Scott’s only weapon before he goes up against a vicious murderer, huh? Your behavior is proceeding apace from “dickish” to “felonious.” Well done, sir.

Following the scent of blood, Scott tracks the dead janitor’s corpse to the gym. The Alpha attacks; Scott tosses the Molotov at it, but it fails to ignite (thanks, Jackson! Scott owes you one!). The Alpha lunges at him and pins him to the floor. While mounting Scott, the Alpha lets loose with a reverberating howl that forces Scott to transform into a werewolf against his will.

Meanwhile, back in the chemistry classroom, the sound of the howl makes Jackson drop to his knees in agony. He clutches at the Derek-inflicted scratches on the back of his neck, and for a moment, it seems like he’s on the brink of some kind of transformation as well.

A transformed Scott prowls through the school corridors, slouching toward chem class, ready to do the Alpha’s bidding and massacre his friends. Using the janitor’s keys, he starts to unlock the classroom door… and then he hears Allison’s voice, which allows him to regain enough control of himself to break the key off in the lock and slink away.

Sheriff Stilinski and multiple squad cars finally arrive and surround the school. The Alpha retreats, Scott transforms back into himself, and all is well. Except for the part about how the janitor’s corpse has mysteriously disappeared, and how Scott now knows the Alpha wants him to kill his friends as his pack initiation, and how Jackson is now clued in to the existence of werewolves and will no doubt promptly commence scheming to use this to his advantage, and how Allison tearfully breaks up with Scott because she realizes he told her a slew of lies while stranding her in a dangerous predicament. So, a pretty average evening for Scott, overall.

Not my favorite episode, though it’s well-written, with plenty of action and plot development. My criticisms are pretty superficial—setting it entirely in the school gets claustrophobic, and the lack of light quickly becomes tedious and headache-inducing. Still, it moves things forward and places the final stretch of first-season episodes in a strong starting position. Job well done.


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