Teen Wolf 1-11: “Formality”
So Kate takes Allison down to her cool lair, where she’s been keeping a shirtless and chained Derek. There’s a car battery nearby, with wires leading into a gaping wound in Derek’s side. It’s grisly and kinky, both of which I fully expect from Kate. Kate fills Allison in on the existence of werewolves. Allison’s reaction to this thoroughly messed-up scenario is to get teary and overwhelmed, which is understandable. Less understandable, though, is how she never suggests that what her aunt is doing is, like, morally wrong or whatever. For the first time in the series thus far, I don’t like Allison very much. Sure, it’s plausible she’d believe everything Kate tells her, namely that Werewolf Derek is a wild animal responsible for all the recent murders in Beacon Hills, but Kate is torturing him. If Allison saw Kate torturing an actual wild animal, she’d probably try to put an immediate stop to it, so why’s she giving Kate a pass for this?
Let’s assume Allison is too horror-struck at her aunt’s deeds to do anything useful in the moment. But after leaving Derek to Kate’s tender mercies, Allison goes for a long drive and has a bit of a breakdown… and then whips out her bow and starts riddling Derek’s wanted poster with arrows. Hard to interpret that as anything but a tacit endorsement of Kate’s actions. Allison, I’m disappointed in you. Get your act together, kiddo.
Peter Hale arrives at the animal clinic in search of Scott, who is recuperating from his injuries, and discovers that Dr. Deaton has surrounded the building with an anti-werewolf barrier made of mountain ash. Unable to get at Scott this way, Peter gnashes his teeth and glowers and makes dire threats about attacking his friends instead.
Scott shadows Allison to keep her safe from Peter (his protection detail includes spending the night on the roof of the Argent home, right next to Allison’s bedroom window, so he can look in on her while she sleeps. Romantic and noble in theory! Creepy and off-putting in reality!). Due to Scott’s multiple failing grades, Coach Finstock forbids him from attending the upcoming winter formal. Since he can’t be there to watch over Allison himself, Scott does the next best thing(?) and begs Jackson(??) to take her to the dance. Scott’s brain works in mysterious ways.
Jackson, who is not feeling especially grateful or gracious about Scott rescuing him from Derek’s clutches last episode, hisses at Scott to go screw himself. Scott tries to appeal to Jackson’s (nonexistent) sentimental side: “You’re her friend, too. All that time you spent with her to get to me, you can’t tell me you didn’t get to know her and like her. It’s Allison! It’s impossible not to like her!” Wow, Scott is grievously overestimating both Jackson and Allison with that little speech. Miss Congeniality rolls his eyes and refuses to cooperate, until Scott transforms into a werewolf, slams him against a door, and terrorizes him into asking Allison to the dance.
The aforementioned scene takes place in the locker room, by the way. For a change of pace, everyone stays demurely clothed the entire time. Even Scott manages to keep his shirt on. Weird.
So Lydia takes Allison shopping for a fancy dress as an apology for making out with Scott. For some never-specified reason, Allison badgers Lydia into going to the formal with Stiles. Considering that Stiles and Allison have had minimal interaction in the series thus far, it’s hard to figure out Allison’s angle here. Self-amusement, maybe? In the store (which I refuse to name on principle, as it gets name-checked about eighty times over the course of the series and thus has received quite enough bang for its sponsorship bucks already), Peter slithers up to Allison and creeps her out by giving her some surprisingly helpful fashion advice (“That’s not your color. Considering your skin tone, I’d go lighter”).
Back to Kate and Derek: In between bouts of torment, Kate rifles through his wallet (she mocks his driver’s license photo and pockets his cash, which is a really nice character touch) in search of clues to the identity of the second Beta. Then she offhandedly reminisces about how, before she burned his house down and killed most of his entire family, she and Derek used to have a whole lot of “hot, crazy sex.” And then she licks his abdomen.
Kate is amazing.
While waxing nostalgic about her past romance with Derek—handsome young werewolf falls for beautiful werewolf hunter—it dawns on Kate that history is repeating: Scott is in love with Allison; ergo, Scott is the Beta she’s been searching for.
It’s the Winter Formal! Jackson arrives with Allison. He’s decided to spend the evening in full-on self-destructive nightmarish-prick mode. He promptly sets about getting drunk (when Allison refuses a swig from his bottle, he exclaims, “You want to do tonight sober?” in a tone of flabbergasted wonderment). When Lydia arrives with Stiles, the following exchange takes place:
Lydia: Jackson! (wistfully) You look handsome.
Jackson: Obviously. (wanders off)
Jackson abandons his date to get liquored up with Danny and Danny’s boyfriend. When Allison asks if he’d like to dance, Jackson huffs, “Do I have to?” Dream date material, that one. Allison’s a lucky girl.
Scott crashes the dance to keep an eye on Allison. Good thing, too, because Peter Hale is milling around the crowd. So is Coach Finstock, who spots Scott and tries to boot him out. Thinking quickly, Scott grabs Danny for a spin around the dance floor, knowing Finstock won’t be able to eject him without looking like he’s got a problem with two guys dancing. Having effectively deflected Finstock, Scott dances with Allison and, for the first time, tells her he loves her.
Stiles confesses to Lydia that he’s had a crush on her since the third grade, in a crappy little speech that mostly involves him berating her for her shallowness and spitefulness. Stiles, buddy, I like you, but it’s bad form to kick off a date with someone you really dig by listing off all the things you want her to change about herself. The moment is salvaged when Stiles mentions Lydia’s dazzling brilliance and how he expects her to someday win a Nobel Prize for “some insane mathematical theorem.” Lydia coolly replies, “The Nobel doesn’t have a prize for mathematics. The Fields Medal is what I’ll be winning,” and sweeps him onto the dance floor. All goes well, until she notices Jackson has disappeared and heads outside to look for him.
Jackson stumbles out of the dance and ends up at the edge of the woods, where he sees what he thinks are glowing red eyes staring at him. Assuming it’s the Alpha, he staggers forward and pleads desperately with it to make him a werewolf. Alas, it turns out to be Chris Argent. In his current drunk, despondent, destructive state, Jackson is prone to making even worse life decisions than usual. He ends up blabbing to Chris about Scott being the Beta.
While searching for Lydia, Stiles runs into Jackson. Horrified by his own actions, Jackson tries to tell him about the terrible thing he’s just done, but can’t get the words out and ends up stammering incoherently, broken and distraught. I’m going to go ahead and name Jackson as the first season’s MVP for having the season’s most consistently interesting plotline and the best character arc. An amazing, toxic, damaged, bile-filled trainwreck of a character, who flips seamlessly from hilariously obnoxious to weirdly poignant, the guy’s been mesmerizing all season long. Kudos, Jackson.
Lydia wanders onto the dark lacrosse field searching for Jackson. Peter Hale slinks up behind her and mauls her.
Stiles finds Peter crouching over Lydia, who lies in a heap on the field, bloody and unconscious. He begs Peter not to kill her; Peter orders Stiles to tell him how to find Derek, or he’ll rip Lydia apart. Stiles thinks Derek took Scott’s phone prior to his capture by the Argents; if Derek still has the phone on him, they can track him down using its GPS.
Scott and Allison leave the dance to neck in the parking lot. Chris Argent drives up and, newly aware that Scott is the Beta (thanks, Jackson!), tries to run Scott over. In front of Allison, Scott turns into a werewolf and springs onto the hood of Chris’s car to save himself.
Outstanding. One more episode left in the season.