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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Teen Wolf S4E7: Weaponised.

No, I do not intend to include the unnecessary 'z' instead of an 's'. That is a silly spelling difference and makes everyone sound like they're bees.

Or wasps, I suppose. Heh. Socio-political pun.

Teen Wolf
S4E7: Weaponised.

Blech, I'm starting this post two hours after I meant to because I'm lazy and because Guren no Yumiya is kind of addictive to listen to.

We're in the latter half of the series now, so I'm ramping up my expectations a bit, especially in terms of plot pacing. So far, Teen Wolf's done okay on that front, though, even if it's not quite reached the rarefied heights of the Nogitsune arc.

We see a scientist, who apparently studies supernatural creatures, listening to the Benefactor's tape, which is explaining the process of payment for killing creatures on the dead pool. It cuts quickly to Scott and Stiles, listening to the same tape and looking at the half a million that the Orphans had acquired. While Scott, naturally, thinks they should give it back to Derek, Stiles notes that some of the money is Peter's, but he seems unsure of what that should mean – and, from subtext, it's fairly clear that what Stiles actually wants is for them to keep some of the money for themselves, to help their families: Remember, both Sheriff Stilinski and Melissa are having money troubles, although while I get the former issue (byproduct of a barbaric healthcare system that would have made even the Romans balk), I'm still confused over how Melissa can be that short of money. If anyone knows, do say, incidentally.

Malia arrives to say they found Satome's pack, before we cut to Derek, carrying Braeden into the hospital. Apparently she's been shot, and they found her with the dead bodies of Satome's pack.

Meanwhile, Deaton has inadvertantly entered a Blade film, and is having a slow motion battle with a hooded, acrobatic figure in the rain. It's apparently all friendly, though, as when the fight stops, Deaton bows, and the figure is revealed to be Satome herself.

Which is good, otherwise this'd be a very confusing scene.

After the credits roll, Scott, Stiles, Malia and Kira are at school, preparing to take the – SATs? That's always a bit confusing to me, because SATs (pronounced 'sats') are a completely different exam over in the UK, that you take once every key stage (a three year chunk of school) and basically have no effect on anything, being used mostly for school rankings.

I'm also a little squinty that this exam is apparently three hours. The equivalent exams in the UK are A-Levels, which can be as long as eight hours long for a single exam, and in a couple of cases are four hours long, but for the most part are one and a half to two and a half hours long. Three hours is a very long time to expect a student to focus on an exam, it seems like it'd be better to split it up into two exams.

Mad Scientist, it seems, is either one of their teachers or an independent exam invigilator, just their luck. He'll probably try to kill them during the exam.

Lydia's Mother goes off to find Coach – wait, this exam is for multiple subjects? That makes no sense – who is collapsed drunk in his office. She's disappointed, since he was fifteen years sober up until this point. To be honest, I don't blame him: How many of his students have died, at this point? It'd be enough to push anyone off the wagon.

(Wait, this exam is multiple choice? Did they accidentally pick up an exam for eleven year olds?)

Did they, Scott? Did they?

In the test, a girl named Sydney collapses, saying she feels dizzy – exam set-ups do have that effect, weirdly, I think it's those very neat rows of chairs and tables – and Lydia's Mother sees that she has a weird rash on her arm. She leaves the room (no, don't do that, a mad scientist is in there with them) and goes back to Coach, discovering he has the same rash on his back.

Judging by how she yells at some arriving students to leave, and goes straight for her phone, she seems to know what this is, or at least has some inkling. She calls the CDC, which Scott overhears, which can pretty much only mean that someone (let's face it, Mad Scientist) has released a highly infectious disease into the school.

The CDC arrive, as does the Sheriff, and they quarantine the school. Sydney, the girl who fainted, seems less worried about the rash on her arm and more worried about how if she doesn't take the exam (which is the PSAT, apparently, not the SAT) she won't get any money to go to university. Leaving aside the fact that not having university and accommodation while attending be functionally free at the point of use is kinda absurd, surely they'd let her retake the exam. It's not her fault that the school has been quarantined. Also, Scott is an adorable puppy.

In the classroom, Mad Scientist proceeds to act suspicious, by which I mean acting evil while talking about diseases, and Stiles is, as one would expect, suspicious.

Moi? Evil? Bwaha, no.

The student and staff body of Beacon Hills High School aren't the only ones under the weather, as Satome's pack were also infected by a mysterious disease that caused uncontrollable transformations, blindness, and death. Deaton says he has to go to the hospital, because at the hospital is well-known bamf Melissa, who comes to wake Braeden up to get information. She doesn't really have to try, as Braeden awakens sharply before she can do anything, much to Derek's concern. She explains what we already know: That Satome's pack weren't poisoned, they were killed by a virus.

(In which case, who shot Braeden?)

Scott, it seems, has contracted that same virus, as he's entered the uncontrollable transformation stage of affairs.

Meanwhile, Lydia has set up shop in the Kubrickian Room of her house, and is pleading with Meredith, in lieu of the general spirits of the beyond, to help her figure out how to help her friends. She's got the record player going, which as most people probably remember helped her before, and she has some of Meredith's belongings, but pretty much nothing is happening. She apologises to Meredith for not being able to help her, and switches off the record player, apparently giving up. As she gives up, however, and is putting Meredith's belongings away, she picks up one of said belongings, a photograph and see that it is – or has become – a photo of Meredith standing in the same room she's in right now.

And that's why we don't go into the Kubrick room, Lydia.

Kira and Malia are in line to have their blood taken, and Malia is interested to know whether Kira knows what's in the bag under Scott's bed – she tries not to be blunt about it at first, instead doing what appears to be a very poor impression of someone else attempting to circle around a topic - a sort of strange combination persona formed of elements of Lydia, Kira, Stiles and Lydia's Mother – before eventually bluntly asking, which really leads her nowhere as Kira is then more concerned with clarifying that she has never had sex with Scott.

It's Kira's turn to have her blood taken, and the nice CDC lady is very encouraging about it. Rather unfortunately, the moment the needle touches Kira's skin, a lightning bolt sends it flying away again, and I have no idea how Kira is meant to explain that to anybody. The CDC lady is hurried out, but the lightning bolt doesn't seem to have damaged her suit much.

The gang and Mister Yukimura decide that they need somewhere safe to keep Scott and Malia, who are both losing control due to the disease. Stiles, meanwhile, has acquired the same rash we saw on Sydney and the Coach, while Mister Yukimura reveals that Kira is being affected neurologically.

They get down to the vault, with Malia opening it (after a nice conversation where she says that she's fine with being on the dead pool, because anyone out to kill her will go after Scott and Kira first). Inside, they end up discussing the Hales' one-hundred-and-seventeen-million dollars worth of bail bonds, including how they're converted into money (which I feel sure is going to be plot relevant later) and how Stiles is kinda bitter, because both he and Scott are in dire financial straits and that money could have helped them.

It's actually kind of a difficult scene to watch. Werewolves, assassins, engineered diseases – these are all very fantastical threats that don't make up a part of people's everyday lives (werewolves don't even make up a part of people's non-everyday lives, as they are fictional). Money troubles? Money troubles are a lot more difficult to watch for me.

Let's look at these cheerfully costumed CDC agents instead.

As Lydia arrives at the school, the gang continues to talk, with Scott saying they should tell Malia about Peter being her father, and Stiles making several good points: That a) Peter seems to be the only person not on the dead pool, making him a decent candidate for Benefactor, and b) Even if he's not, he is a multiple murderer who has used his knowledge of the supernatural to manipulate the gang into treating him like an ally, when he's not.

(Melissa and Deaton, meanwhile, are dissecting the sick werewolf from Satome's pack, who previously died in the hospital lift. Deaton realises what it is, and it's not good.)

After a really heartwarming if also kinda sad scene with Malia, Stiles leaves to go figure out who the assassin is – dude, you kinda already know, surely. At the hospital, Derek has a cute scene with Braeden before Satome arrives, and outside the school, Lydia says that people are going to die, and have I mentioned how rapid successions of plot relevant but very short scenes are the bane of my life?

Actual puppy Derek Hale is not.

The disease, Deaton informs them, is canine distemper virus, although it's been weaponised. Let's check what the symptoms of canine distemper are! Excessive salivation, laboured breathing, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, vomiting and a runny nose – okay, nobody has that. Deterioration of motor abilities, incoordination, and blindness – we have seen that in-show. Fever – yes. 5/10 for accuracy, I say. Satome hasn't gotten sick, though, they note, and after some cute reminiscing between her and Derek, Deaton realises that it's because she consistently drinks purple reishi tea.

More research time! Reishi mushrooms, used in reishi tea, are high in polysaccharides, which boost the immune system, and triterpenes, which are anti-inflammatories. That's what's proven about their medicinal properties: There's also some belief that they can assist with anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, bronchitis, and some more serious diseases that I won't deign to put here – but none of that has ever been proven.

Luckily for all of them, Derek still has some of that tea – which Satome used to give to his mother as a gift – down in the Hale vault.

Stiles, meanwhile, has done some research and realised that Coach was the only adult to get sick. He rifles through his office, and realises that Coach was the only adult to touch the inkwell that the rest of the students were using to mark their thumbprints on the PSATs register. Mad Scientist arrives, being suitably moustache-twirly and evil, and armed with a gun.

With a silencer and a Stiles and everything.

He notes that Stiles is still looking a little feverish – which is odd to me, since the scene just before this one showed all of the humans rapidly recovering, and this series has been dropping a lot of hints that Stiles may still have some trace of the Nogitsune in him – and says that he'll kill him if he doesn't reveal where Scott and company are hiding. He doesn't get the chance, as Scott's Father shoots him, before telling Stiles about the antidote in the vault.

At the hospital, Derek and Satome are heading out, when our second assassin of the day – the woman who shot Braeden – appears. She starts shooting, and Satome goes full Matrix on her, dodging her bullets in slow motion before stabbing her in the neck. I like Satome. Satome's great.

Stiles takes the news of the antidote to Scott who, encouraged by Kira, using the same Alpha power that Deucalion used constantly way back in the first half of series 3 to see and find the reishi tea. He shatters the jar, and the three of them inhale the tea, which cures them rather miraculously.

As the episode ends, all isn't well, however, as Malia has seen Stiles' printout of the dead pool, and the cat's out of the bag that she's one of the Hales.

Overall, this was a very good self-contained episode, but it was very self-contained, with almost no development on the plot. I said at the start of this review that in this latter half I'm going to be harsher as far as series pacing goes, and I'm going to hold by that, that really the latter half of a twelve-episode series should amp up the plot and have significant plot developments every episode. The most we really got here is that Malia now knows Peter is her father, which is, to be honest, the least interesting of the plot threads right now.

One thing I really find myself hoping for right now is that Stiles will reveal Nogitsune powers. It seems like this episode, and several of the ones before it, have been ripe with opportunities for him to do so, and it seems like hints are being dropped – but I've been wrong before, especially when wishful thinking is at play. 

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