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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Teen Wolf S4E5: IED


Wait, Parrish's first name is Jordan?

I thought it was Hunter.

Teen Wolf
S4E5: IED.



Running! Dramatic running! Either something big is happening or I've accidentally tuned in to a very overblown episode of The Bill.

Our mystery runner is a blonde girl of supernatural disposition, fleeing through the school to get away from, by the looks of it, Evil Hitman Freshman Girl, who has already removed one of her hands. She manages to escape by hiding and then surprising said Evil Hitman Freshman Girl, only to get into the car of Evil Hitman Freshman Dude, who stabs her.

Great hiding place, bruh.

After the credits roll, we go Full CGI, with dramatic cuts between events and viewpoints as Stiles explains who's been murdered so far and how, and about the dead pool that Lydia found – or, it's revealed, a third of it, with two more keys needed to reveal the remainder of it. Lydia's over at the Stanley Kubrick lakehouse trying to discover the other two cipher keys, and seems to be growing increasingly obsessed and disturbed by it, prompting Kira and Malia to gently take her away from her channelling-the-dead-vinyl-player.

Actually, it occurs to me that there's another way to decode the parts of the code they've not decoded, if the opportunity presents itself. Actually, two ways: The first is that since the cipher keys seem to be short, repeating names, you could use Charles Babbage's method, in which you find repeated strings of characters in the encoded text (which are almost certainly the same words encoded with the same part of the key), and then analyse the lengths of random letters between these repetitions to figure out how long the keyword is. Once you know how long the key is, you can split the message up into sections, one for each repetition of the key, and use frequency analysis to decode each individual letter of the key.

The other option is that eventually someone is going to die who's not on the third of the list you have, and once you have them, you have a chunk of one of the two remaining thirds already decoded and could use that to decode the rest.

The CSI-ing continues, with Stiles pointing out that the numbers by the names should eventually add up to one-hundred-and-seventeen million, as that's the amount of money stolen from the Hales in bail bonds – they also explain something that's been bugging me. I was a bit confused by how much lower the main characters' bounties were: Derek, Scott, Lydia, etc, seemed to have vastly lower prices on their heads than random characters we've never met before. For instance: Lydia has a price of '20', Derek '15' and Scott '25'. But the Walcott Wendigos all have '250', and Carrie Hudson, the blonde girl killed in the cold open, has '500'. I presumed that these were 'x' thousands, so Lydia has a going rate of $20000 and Scott 25000, while Carrie has a staggering half a million on her head, which is the largest of any character we've seen on that list. As Stiles explains, the three digit numbers indicate thousands, but the two digit numbers indicate millions, so Carrie has a price of $500000 on her head, but Scott has a staggering $25,000,000 on his, fifty times more than that. Thus, confusion was averted.

You see why I was bewildered.

They also realise that a student, someone who was at the party, must have killed Werewolf Beer Delivery Man.

At school the next day, the two freshmen killers talk about how they're going after the big money next, which presumably means one of the main cast. Kira also lets slip to her father that there are assassins after all of them, which he seems to take – bizarrely well. Better than I think anybody should. Meanwhile, in the gym, Liam is lifting increasingly higher and higher weights, much to the alarm of his best friend, who when eventually manages to get Liam's attention and tell him that their next game is against his old school. Obviously, as Liam knows he has anger management issues and is a werewolf now, Liam will do the sensible thing and not play.

The fact that Scott and Derek decide to put him through a totally unnecessary 'anger' test (you already know he's angry, guys) probably doesn't help. Derek seems quite happy about the result (that, shocker, Liam is an angry young man), but Scott is feeling overwhelmed by everything afoot this series.

Lydia is still struggling to figure out the second key, and Malia's presence isn't helping. However, Malia does have a good idea: They could ask Meredith the Banshee for help.

In Economics class – do all American schools teach Economics as standard? I feel that's a great idea, but the fruits of that particular labour do not appear to be all that evident. Um. Anyway. In Economics class, the Coach is giving an actually pretty good speech on economic disparity, using sports as an example – and he's not wrong, economic disparity is a big factor in sports. It's why wealthy countries that pour a lot of money into sports as a political power display, like China and the US, consistently do extremely well in the Olympics. Not the only reason: Both those countries also have a more omnipresent culture of sport just to start, but one of them.

He encounters Stiles looking at some of the murder photographs, depicting someone with stab wounds surrounded by an octagonal marking. As the Coach jabs at him with the butt of a Lacrosse stick, Stiles realises that the octagonal marking is from a Lacrosse stick, and that someone has a Lacrosse-stick-dagger and is probably intending to kill someone at the game. 

"GIVE ME BACK MY STICK, STILES."

Stiles points out to Kira and Scott later that it could be either of them up for being murdered, and Scott says it could be Liam. Stiles points out that they don't know how the list was made, or how it was updated, and – Actually, can the list even be updated? Surely it's nature means it can't. For one, there's a hard limit of how many names can be on it, we established that earlier: The prices add up to one-hundred-and-seventeen-million dollars, so if you wanted to add another person, you would need to either reduce the bounty on someone, which is logistically awkward, or remove someone entirely, which is even worse. You'd then have to distribute the new list to everyone – and there's not much suggestion the Benefactor actually knows all of the people using this list, the point seems to be that it's there for any assassins so inclined – before they kill someone and find out that either their bounty has been drastically scaled back, or that their bounty has vanished entirely, both of which will get an angry assassin on your tail.

In spite of this, the list has seemingly been updated, as we see the two freshmen killers talking about the rare breed of wolfsbane they're poisoning the blade is, and how they're going after the Beta – presumably Liam, but I could be proven wrong – rather than the Alpha, Scott. Evil Freshman Hitman Girl is less than happy about this, as Scott would have them pretty much rolling in money, while Evil Freshman Hitman Dude points out that Scott is the main character, and so functionally invincible. 

"Seriously, he is the eponymous teenage wolf, he's unkillable until
he hits twenty."

(Actually, he uses the example of the Alpha pack, saying that they went up against Scott and Scott was the last one standing. Was – was he? Deucalion survived. Aiden and Ethan both survived, and Aiden only died later, killed by Nogitsune!Stiles. Kali didn't survive, but she was killed by Jennifer, another of Scott's enemies, not Scott. Ennis is the only one really killed as part of the conflict between Scott and the Alpha Pack, and even then, Derek was the one presumed to kill him, and Deucalion was the one who actually did. Scott didn't harm a single hair on their heads.)

After a moment between Malia and Lydia, Liam goes to confront his old teammates from his old school, who – look evil, to be honest. They look like the villain team from an 80s sports film. Liam tries to extend a hand of peace, but sure enough, they are, in fact, the villain team from an 80s sports film, complete with lines like 'We're going to break you in half out there,' and 'Yeah, you're gonna pay.' Unable to handle the bad one-liners anymore, Scott and Stiles rush in, with Scott dragging Liam back while Stiles is all friendly-like.

After calming down under a cold shower, Liam says he was diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which is an actual thing and does fit Liam. He also says that he was being treated with anti-psychotics, although apparently it's usually treated with antidepressants (I'm not a medical expert, so I can't say whether it's sometimes treated with anti-psychotics instead), and that he isn't on his medication.

It also comes up that whoever ordered the keg of beer may be an assassin, and handily, Liam knows that Evil Freshman Hitman Dude paid for that keg.

The game is about to start, and Liam's ranting about how he can take down 80s Lacrosse Film Villain is rather cut down by the fact that is best friend is attracted to said villainous scoundrel. I do like that in the world of Teen Wolf, a fifteen year old boy being gay is less of a big deal to his straight best friend than the fact that the object of his attraction is his best friend's douche-y arch-nemesis. 

He looks unimpressed.

(Growing increasingly suspicious, actually, that 80s Lacrosse Film Villain may be the Beta that the Evil Freshman Hitmen are out to kill.)

Derek and Chris, meanwhile, have a talk about Kate, and Derek reveals that not only have his eyes turned yellow, but he's losing his enhanced sense of smell: He's slowly turning into a human.

Lacrossery happens. This review is already too long, so I'm not going to go into that. Meanwhile. Meredith turns up at the sheriff's station and meets with Lydia. Meredith is less than helpful, and only with the prompting of Banshee Whisperer Parrish does she give them a number – 2436, which seems useless. Malia, however, figures out that she's referring to the letters on a phone set – 'ABC' for 2, and so on. Lydia figures out that the second keyword is 'AIDEN', another friend of theirs who died, and decodes the second part of the list. 

Hurrah, Meredith!

Frankly, at this point, figuring out the third keyword should be a piece of cake. There are only a few options, if they're all friends of the main gang who died in-series: ERIKA and BOYD are the only ones that spring to mind. They'd better at least try those.

The new part of the list reveals that I was right, and 80s Lacrosse Film Villain was a werewolf (and is subsequently attacked by Evil Freshman Hitman Girl, having been cut with the poison blade, with her going to finish him off). Lydia also sees on the list that Parrish is some form of supernatural creature.

Scott tracks 80s Lacrosse Film Villain down to the locker rooms, where he's still alive. Instead, Evil Freshman Hitman Girl tries to kill Scott: She fails, badly, with Scott seeming more annoyed by the thermal wire than anything, and Scott knocks her out in time for Stiles to arrive, who he tells to call the Sheriff. 

"Thermal wire? With that blouse?" 

As the episode ends, Chris, cornered by his Mexican Hunter Friends, is apparently turned back to the Dark Side.


This was a pretty strong episode, all told, with a lot of plot development, which pleases me after the relative disappointment that was yesterday's Falling Skies. Next week is the halfway point of the series, so hopefully something big is planned for that.  

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