Teen Wolf 2-06: “Frenemy”
So we finally get a good look at the missing two hours on the tape Jackson recorded the night of the full moon, and sure enough, it shows him transforming into the kanima. Danny texts Jackson to let him know he’s restored the video. He stresses that, at Jackson’s request, he hasn’t watched it. Because Danny seems to be a thoroughly decent human being, he’s probably even telling the truth. He tosses the tablet with the video on it into the back of his car.
Meanwhile, Derek chases the kanima on foot through dark streets while Scott and Stiles follow in the jeep. Chris Argent pops up and shoots the hell out of the kanima. Even riddled with bullets, it keeps relentlessly coming at him, before turning its attention to Gerard Argent. Gerard observes it thoughtfully and makes no attempt to get out of its path. Curious! Before it can attack Gerard, Scott intercedes and shoos it away.
The kanima leaps up to the roof of a nightclub and slithers inside. Figuring the kanima—Jackson, in other words—must be there to murder someone, Scott and Stiles look around and spot Danny standing in line to get in. They sneak into the club through the back door.
So, yeah, it’s a gay club. Ever bi-curious, Stiles seethes in resentment when an attractive man buys Scott a drink.
Danny’s trying to get over his recent breakup with his boyfriend. His ex, who is the same guy Danny took to last season’s winter formal, also happens to be at the club (the gay scene in Beacon Hills seems a little claustrophobic), which is putting a damper on his efforts to cheer up and have some fun. Danny finally hits the dance floor with a cute new guy. The kanima stalks its way through the crowd, paralyzing everyone in its path with its venom-laden claws, until it reaches Danny. It paralyzes Danny, but before it can kill him, Derek arrives, fully transformed into the Alpha, and manages to rake open its torso with his claws. As the clubgoers scream and scurry for safety, the kanima slinks out of the club.
Scott follows a trail of black blood out to the parking lot, where he finds Jackson slumped between cars, naked and unconscious and bloody.
Meanwhile, the cute loner who’d flirted with Lydia outside the guidance counseling office shows up in her backyard at night. He amps up his seduction attempts by presenting her with a wolfsbane blossom. Even though he seems a little intense and stalkerish, she’s clearly kind of digging him. His character is nameless thus far, but at the risk of being ruinously spoilery, I’m going to go ahead and call him Tom Riddle.
Scott and Stiles frantically try to figure out what to do with Jackson, who is still very unconscious and still very naked. They steal a prison transport van from the sheriff’s department, drive it out in the middle of the woods, and shackle Jackson up inside it. In the history of the series thus far, Scott and Stiles have never come up with anything that could be considered a good plan, really, but even by their standards, this is a pretty terrible, doomed-to-failure idea. While Scott goes to school the next day and tries to pretend everything is normal, Stiles babysits their prisoner. Stiles explains to an irate and disbelieving Jackson about his murderous, scaly alter ego, but Jackson, who has no memory of his actions as the kanima, is having none of it. When Jackson points out that his parents will be looking for him, Stiles smugly reassures him he’s already sent a text to his folks from Jackson’s phone claiming he spent the night at a friend’s house.
Cue Jackson’s frantic dad in Sheriff Stilinski’s office, who believes something horrible has happened to his son. Stiles made the strategic error of signing his forged text with “love”, which, Mr. Whittemore explains, is a word Jackson refuses to use. Should’ve been obvious. Jackson’s repertoire of human emotions pretty much goes from unfocused rage to blistering scorn to smug self-amusement without detouring anywhere near love or affection. Rookie mistake, Stiles.
Gerard calls Allison into his office at school to grill her about Jackson, who seems to be topping the Argents’ list of likely kanima suspects. The Argents may be many things, but they’re not dumb. He stands behind her and presses his fingers to her neck while she answers his questions, claiming her pulse will be able to tell him whether she’s being honest with him. Yeah, that’s not creepy or inappropriate at all. The Argents must be fun at parties.
And then Allison discovers her mom is Beacon Hills High School’s newest substitute teacher. And then the Argents set about installing surveillance cameras in all the classrooms and hallways to help them track down the kanima and thus find vengeance for the murder of their henchman earlier in the season. As with their scheme to replace the school principal with Gerard, it’s all too cartoonishly evil. As much fun as the Argents can be as adversaries—Gerard and Chris are both entertaining to watch, though they pale in comparison to the sadistic, unhinged glory of the late, lamented Kate—they’ve expended a ridiculous amount of effort on feeble endeavors recently, which weakens them. Even in a show as self-aware and whimsical as Teen Wolf, the Argents should seem formidable and scary, not buffoonish.
Scott visits Danny in the hospital. While tap-dancing wildly around the little bombshell that Jackson was the one who attacked him, Scott cautiously asks him to rate his relationship with Jackson lately “…on a scale of one to ten, with one being kind of irritated and ten wanting to kill you violently.” Danny considers and replies, “Jackson’s kind of always at a four.” Danny tells Scott about restoring the video, a copy of which is still on the tablet in his car. When Scott returns to the club parking lot to retrieve it, he discovers the tablet has been stolen.
I’m just going to quickly point out that: a) Danny is shirtless and smoking-hot in the hospital scene, and b) Jackson spends most of this episode shirtless and chained. Of the first six episodes of this season, Jackson’s lovely torso has been amply showcased in episodes one, two, and six. It’s not coincidence that these episodes were directed by the great Russell Mulcahy. Mulcahy, of course, has been filming beautiful men in various stages of undress since at least 1981, which is when he convinced Roger Taylor to lose his shirt for the opening shot of Duran Duran’s iconic “Planet Earth” video. Beautiful shirtless men are kind of his visual signature. For more evidence, please see Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” video, to say nothing of Billy Joel’s “Allentown” video. Here’s a general rule of thumb while watching Teen Wolf: If Colton Haynes’s nipples are in the shot, Mulcahy was behind the camera.
(As is obvious from the fifty thousand words or so I’ve written about Duran Duran videos for this site, Russell Mulcahy is one of my all-time favorite directors; in fact, he was my main reason for watching Teen Wolf in the first place. While there are many reasons to appreciate Mulcahy’s work, his striking visuals and his high-energy style being foremost amongst them, his fondness for homoerotic imagery ranks pretty high on the list.)
Scott, Allison and Stiles assemble in the woods outside the transport van. While Jackson eavesdrops on their conversation, they squabble about what to do with their captive. Stiles, in a startlingly cold-blooded move, votes for killing him. Scott won’t hear of it. Scott reminds Stiles that, were it not for the support of his friends, he himself would’ve slaughtered innocent people when he first became a werewolf, whereas Jackson is friendless and unloved. Inside the van, instead of huffily pointing out that Danny and Lydia both seem downright fond of him, thank you very much, Jackson lets a single tear trickle down his perfect cheek.
Since Stiles looked after Jackson during the day, Scott and Allison take over guard duty for the night. They are predictably terrible at it. They snuggle in the front seat of Allison’s car and listen to music, and yammer on endlessly about how they’ll love each other forever, and have a lot of sex, and fall asleep in each other’s arms, and pretty much do everything except pay an ounce of attention to their dangerous, volatile captive. When Stiles arrives to relieve them, they discover that Jackson, in his kanima form, broke out of his chains, ripped his way out of the van, and disappeared.
Excellent work, kids.
Discouraged, Allison returns home and finds Lydia in her bedroom, desperate to talk about something that’s been bothering her. Much as Stiles did a couple of episodes back, Allison blows her off, claiming she’s got far too much going on in her own life right now to listen to Lydia’s problems. Resigned to the knowledge that her friends all kind of suck, Lydia helps Allison out by translating the passage about the kanima in Gerard’s bestiary. It seems Ms. Morrel got it wrong—the kanima seeks a master, not a friend. Ergo, someone’s been controlling Jackson.
With Jackson on the loose, Scott and Stiles decide their best option is to confess everything—werewolves, the kanima, hunters, all of it—to Sheriff Stilinksi. When they arrive at the sheriff’s station, they find Jackson has beaten them to the punch. He’s there with his father, whom Stilinski introduces as David Whittemore, Esquire. “That means lawyer,” Jackson helpfully notes.
Fun episode. Halfway through the season, and we’re still on a pretty good path.