Teen Wolf 2-03: “Ice Pick”

Kind of a shaky episode this time. Disappointing, since we've been coasting on such a high lately. Before we get into it, though, we’ve got two final members of the second-season supporting cast to cover:





Erica Reyes (Gage Golightly)
An epileptic misfit with a crush on Stiles. Erica transforms into a sexed-up knockout when she becomes the second member of Derek’s pack.





Vernon Boyd (Sinqua Walls)
The third member of Derek’s pack. Works at the local skating rink. Seems like a nice enough guy? I don’t really know. Sadly, Boyd will never receive any significant character development or be given anything resembling an interesting plotline during his entire time on the series.


After flirting with a cute motorcyclist at a gas station, Allison gets kidnapped by unseen miscreants. When her captors remove her blindfold, she finds herself bound to a chair in the Hale house, with her father similarly restrained in front of her, while an unseen voice utters ominous threats… look, I can’t even keep going with this. It’s all just some weird-ass Argent family training ritual intended to make Allison stronger, served with a dollop of spiteful payback (Chris Argent is ticked at his daughter for helping Derek and Stiles rescue Isaac last episode), and it’s far too silly to describe in detail. Anyway, Chris tells Allison that, starting now, her werewolf-hunting training is going to go into overdrive. It seems the Argent family has a long-standing tradition: “Our sons are trained to be soldiers, our daughters to be leaders.” He smugly describes this as “surprisingly progressive.”

Progressive. Chris Argent, I do not think you know that that word means.

Dude, this is not “surprisingly progressive.” This is more of that tired old “men act one way/women act another way” crud that’s been going on since the dawn of time. This is the diametric opposite of progressive. If the Argent family were truly progressive, they wouldn’t fart around drawing arbitrary lines between the traditional roles of the male and female family members. Assigning roles based solely on gender and not on interest or aptitude? Not progressive. Try again, Chris.

Oh, and just outside the Hale house, the cute guy/Argent lackey who flirted with Allison at the gas station gets brutally slaughtered by the weird lizard creature from last episode.

At the school, a student named Erica Reyes has an epileptic seizure while climbing a rock wall in gym class. Beacon Hills High School has a swimming pool and a rock wall?  Sweet. My high school had a dinky athletic field in a vacant lot six blocks away from the main campus. We can see that Erica is supposed to be a social outcast, even though she’s gorgeous, because she has a visible zit on her chin.


Erica is whisked off to the hospital, where Derek shows up to fondle her legs and caress her face while asking all sorts of leading questions about whether she’d like to become a werewolf, and seriously, Derek? You’re an adult. Stop pawing the high school kids. Don’t be that guy.


In the locker room, Jackson eavesdrops on Scott and Stiles talking about how Derek turned Isaac into a werewolf.  It seems important to mention that Dylan O’Brien passes up his chance to join the Shirtless Men of Teen Wolf club by opting to change out of his gym clothes behind the protection of his locker door, well out of sight of the camera.

Still furious that Derek’s bite didn’t work on him, Jackson corners Lydia in the hallway and angrily berates her, insisting her apparent immunity from werewolves must’ve somehow managed to contaminate him as well. He’s scary and awful, even by Jackson’s daunting standard of scary awfulness.


Lydia does the only sensible thing in the wake of all the aforementioned scary awfulness, i.e. she flees to the ladies’ room to have a good cry. She spots the bare feet of a man standing just outside her stall; when she asks what he’s doing, he leaves without a word. She trails him to the lobby, where he stops to peer in the trophy case before vanishing. We only see him from behind, but… it’s Peter Hale. It’s totally Peter Hale. Lydia checks to see what he was gazing at, and yep—it’s one of Peter’s old basketball trophies.

In the lunch room, Stiles borrows the front-door keys to the local ice-skating rink from a taciturn student named Boyd. While this takes place, Erica saunters into the room, takes a bite out of someone else’s apple, and shows off her sexed-up new image before hopping in Derek’s car and zipping off into her fabulous new life as a sexy werewolf. She looks amazing—in addition to biting her, Derek apparently bought her some tight leather clothes and gave her all sorts of helpful tips on applying makeup and using conditioner—but I do have to wonder: Why is Erica the only werewolf to get the full slutty-makeover treatment? Why didn’t Isaac show up at school in, say, leather pants and a mesh half shirt after Derek gnawed on him?


After school, Scott, Allison, Stiles and Lydia use Boyd’s keys to go on an after-hours double date at the ice-skating rink. Scott and Allison snuggle and smooch in the photo booth. Lydia and Stiles have a pretty good time as well, until Lydia starts to hallucinate: she sees wolfsbane growing on the ice, and Peter Hale trapped alive beneath the ice.


Victoria Argent snoops in her daughter’s room and finds a love note Scott wrote to Allison. Enraged, she slashes open her own arm with a butcher’s knife, then heads to the hospital to get it stitched up by Melissa McCall, which gives her an excuse to subtly grill her as to whether she thinks Scott and Allison have been sneaking around behind everyone’s backs. It’s… dramatic, I guess, though calling Melissa up and chatting with her about their kids would’ve probably produced similar results. The Argents are a little exhausting this season.


At school the next day, Scott and Stiles freak out upon discovering that Boyd isn’t sitting in his usual seat in the lunchroom. They immediately jump to the conclusion that Boyd is off getting turned into a werewolf by Derek, which MAKES NO SENSE based on anything we’ve seen. We haven’t seen Derek interact with Boyd, we haven’t seen Boyd express a wish to become a werewolf, we haven’t seen anything that should give Scott and Stiles any cause to think Boyd skipping lunch is some kind of ominous, panic-inducing anomaly. I assume some plotline was cut during production and thus this scene had to be crudely shoehorned into place to bridge the narrative gap, but damn, that’s some sloppy storytelling.

Here’s a proposed hasty fix for that scene:

STILES: Hey, where’s Boyd? I need to return his keys.
UNNAMED STUDENT IN LUNCHROOM: I saw him leave with Derek Hale.

Inelegant and awkward, sure, but an imperfect explanation would’ve been much better than no explanation at all.

Jackson bursts into the Hale house, still trying to figure out why Derek’s bite didn’t work on him. Instead of finding Derek, he’s greeted by a horde of gun-toting werewolf hunters, headed up by Chris Argent. Chris takes Jackson aside and, in a briskly paternal way, tells him to knock off the trying-to-become-a-werewolf crap, as he’d really rather not have to kill him. Weirdly, this might be the nicest Chris has been to anyone in the series, ever.


Scott goes to the skating rink and approaches a Zamboni-driving Boyd. Scott dives right into the conversation on the assumption that Boyd has already been in serious talks with Derek about maybe becoming a werewolf, and you know what? It turns out he’s right. Either Scott is really, really good at guessing, or this episode is a little half-assed. Derek and his new pack of misfits pop up and threaten Scott. Oh, dear. Derek and Isaac and Erica are all clad in black leather, and they strike vaguely menacing poses before attacking, and this entire scene is… well, look, it’s goofy. I mean, we expect a certain level of goofiness from Teen Wolf, and that’s fine, because it’s usually doled out with healthy amounts of wit and self-awareness. But… there’s delightfully goofy, and then there’s mortifyingly goofy, and in this instance at least, Teen Wolf falls on the wrong side of the divide.


I like Derek. I like Erica. I like Isaac. But… wow, Derek, your innate coolness has plummeted since you started assembling your raggedy-ass pack. I liked you better when you just hung out in the background a lot, glowering and smoldering.

On Derek’s orders, Erica and Isaac attack Scott and get their asses handed to them, then Scott attacks Derek and gets his ass handed to him. Boyd watches all this and decides that, yes, being a werewolf would be totally cool. He follows Derek out of the rink, above Scott’s protests.

On the lacrosse field at night, a frenzied, rage-filled Jackson relentlessly hurls lacrosse balls around by himself. Afterward, in the cab of his truck—he’s driving some big four-wheel-drive thingy, not the Porsche—he has a full-scale breakdown, which is compounded when he realizes his back wheels are stuck. He tries to push the truck out of the mud, to no avail. Then he sees his own distorted reflection in the bumper… and suddenly he’s able to effortlessly lift the entire back end of the truck entirely off of the ground.


Eh. Weakest episode to date by a significant margin, despite the promising introduction to Erica and some nice handling of Jackson’s ongoing descent into uncontrolled rage and darkness. The sloppiness is disturbing, especially since this is a problem that will only grow worse as the series continues. Some good elements here, but overall it’s not nearly as strong as it could be.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Strange, Sick, Sad Career of Thomas Gibson

The Strange, Sick, Sad Career of Jonny Lee Miller

Friday Roundup