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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Teen Wolf S4E12: Smoke and Mirrors.


This would have been slightly earlier if I wasn't distracted by someone in the RWBY fandom claiming that it was out of character for Weiss, a seventeen year old girl, to be attracted to anyone other than men in their forties or fifties.

He was a man in his forties or fifties.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

Teen Wolf
S4E12: Smoke and Mirrors.



It's Tuesday afternoon, I'm late getting to this post, and I'm sleep-deprived. But still! Finale! I'm sad to see Teen Wolf end for another year, but after last episode, I'm hoping this'll be a great end to series 4.

Now, excuse me while I get myself a shot of coffee.

Ah, that's the ticket. As the episode starts, Kira finds that she can escape from her bone-filled cell underneath the Mexican church that is in turn built over an Aztec temple. She does so, and stumbles through the dark, not realising she's being stalked by the Berserkers until it's too late. One attacks her, and she realises after it's slammed her against a few walls that it's Scott – specifically because she sees the tattoo on his arm, which is a dead giveaway.

Kate arrives, explaining that when she escaped the Calaveras she was drawn to the temple, and had found the Berserkers beneath it – but she'd only discovered recently that she could not only control them, but create them, on account of being the Bone Woman. She decides that it's time for Scott to kill someone, and directs him against Kira. We see him pull out his knife and stab downwards with it, and then the credits roll.

Incidentally, that scene also mentions the Smoking Mirror, reminding me that this isn't the first time I've seen Tezcatlipoca be a plot element in something: He was in Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror.

But is this a screencap from Teen Wolf or Broken Sword?
You'll never know!

Back in Beacon Hills, people are making preparations for their trip to Mexico. For Stiles, that means convincing his father, who naturally wants to contact law enforcement agencies first. For Derek and Braeden, that means a Massive Table of Guns. They have some cute romance stuff that's rather dampened by Derek's certainty that he's going to die on this trip, before Derek remarks that he's not even sure that all of the firepower on the Massive Table of Guns is going to be enough to take down a Berserker.

Career Mood Killer Peter is quick to smugly say that it won't, as he descends the stairs in a dramatic fashion. Berserkers aren't just practically invulnerable, it turns out, they also can't die unless their animal spirit is broken away from their human spirit. So that's nice for them, I guess. Derek points out that the only one with experience of that is Chris Argent (has it – ever been mentioned that he's killed Berserkers before?), who's not returning Derek's calls, possibly because someone who will remain unnamed impaled him through the wall of a sewer with a rebar.

Meanwhile, Stiles and Malia are finding something to track Scott with. Stiles' suggestion is Scott's unwashed boxer shorts, while Malia counters with a pillow instead. Liam also wants to go along, much to Stiles' chagrin, as it's the night of the full moon, and Liam transforming mid-trip and trying to kill all of them is really a complication they don't need. We also discover in this scene (with a hashtag saying 'NoWerewolfJedis') that Liam, like Scott, has never seen Star Wars. Stiles is anguished.

The eventual solution is that Braeden brings along a prison transport truck to keep Liam in. Peter – who, mind, probably knows exactly what Kate is planning, and is thus lying in this scene – speculates that Kate wants to steal Scott's true Alpha powers using the divine powers that the Jaguar God has granted her. They can't leave just yet, though, because Lydia isn't there.

(Some of) The Gang.

She's actually at the school, where she gets something out of her locker only to end up promptly attacked by a Berserker.

Back at the meeting point, they decide – not without controversy – that they can't wait for Lydia. Liam, at least, says he'll call Mason (his best friend, who I've always liked but have thus far not kenned the name of) to go look for her. Because obviously squishy, adorable Mason will be invaluable if she's being attacked by a werekangaroo or something equally upsetting.

Mason goes to look for her, while the gang apparently just teleports to Mexico. Hang on, where – how close are they to Mexico?

"Oh, gee whiz, geography! Murphy knows exactly what'll
keep me reading!"

Okay, Beacon Hills is located between Paradise, California, and the Plumas National Forest, according to Jeff Davis. That would put it not too far off Sacramento, about six-hundred-and-fifty to seven-hundred miles North of Mexico, a length equal to or greater than that of the entire UK.

The speed limit for California is 65 MPH as a maximum limit, except on certain freeway segments where it rises to 75 MPH. That would mean that, assuming that there's no traffic on the road and that they're able to travel in a straight line, it would take them between eleven and twelve hours to reach the border with Mexico.

(Are they even in Mexico? Am I barking up the wrong tree? It's just that they used the bright yellow Mexico filter and stuck some cactuses around, and that's pretty much exactly what they did to denote 'Mexico' earlier this series.)

Teleporting cars. Especially as they've apparently only just set off, as Derek is only just finishing up handcuffing Liam. There's an adorable moment between Derek and Stiles as Derek gives Liam the Placebo Talisman, and then tries to prompt Stiles via furious eyebrow movements to play along.

After a quick timeskip denoted by Mason encountering a Berserker, it's night-time. Peter tries some psychological shenanigans on Malia, while Liam starts wolfing out.

What a helpful talisman.

On the bright side, Kira's alive. Maybe not for much longer, as Scott did stab her, but her hallucinatory mother seems to believe that she's doing okay. Guided by delusion-mother, she triggers her ability to heal, something she's never managed to do before.

On the road, there are some kerfuffles with Liam, as Derek's mantra of 'Alpha, Beta, Omega' fails to help him achieve self-control. Satome's mantra, as delivered by Stiles, does help, however. Meanwhile, Peter keeps trying to turn Malia to the dark side.

They arrive at the Church – they literally cannot have left more than five or six hours ago, but there you go – where the Berserkers are waiting for them. Literally waiting right outside the doors to the prison truck. Well, one of them is. Good job, Berserker. It roughs up Derek a bit, and then stabs him, before being driven away by Braeden with a shotgun. As Derek bleeds out on a rock, he insists that everyone go on without him – they do, except Braeden – although Stiles lingers a little, obviously reluctant.

Stiles always gets a call from his father when he gets into the church. His father is angry, but he softens quickly, and Stiles asks him to go look for Lydia and Mason, warning him that he'll require a lot of firepower if he wants to take down a Berserker. Speaking of Berserkers, that particular group gets attacked by one, and are forced to flee.

Derek and Braeden also aren't doing great, as Derek is dying, and Kate, with a Berserker in tow, is approaching. Lydia and Mason aren't in the best of situations either, as they're trapped in – what looks like a supply room – with a Berserker blocking their way out.

So, everyone's in a bad way.

Except Kate.

Stiles goes to find Kira and Scott (ahahaha – eurgh) while Malia, Peter and Liam fight the Totally Not A Friend of Theirs Berserker (ahahaha – eurgh). Stiles finds Kira, who tells him that Scott has been turned into a Berserker, and Stiles realises that's why Lydia was targeted: Because if she was there, her banshee powers would tell her.

But on the bright side, Derek and Braeden are saved! The Calaveras, led by Chris and Parrish, have arrived to help, and they drive off the Berserker and Kate with only a little bit of difficulty.

Hang on a moment.

"Oh, gee whiz, more geography! I might just expire from joy!"

Okay, it's been twenty-four hours – roughly, it could be anywhere between twenty and twenty-eight, really – since Parrish freed Chris from his rebar. During that time, they would have had to:

Get Chris emergency medical attention. This would have had to have involved surgery, potentially even a blood transfusion, most likely strong antibiotics to deal with the high potential for a rebar-caused infection. The chances of him being in hospital for any less than six hours (the optimum turn-around time for a patient in an NHS Accident and Emergency Department, as decided upon by our plastic-y overlords is four hours – it might be different in the US, but I'm using that as a rough estimate - and he would have had to spend at least some time in critical care getting over losing so much blood) are phenomenally low, and he would more likely be in there in critical care for much longer than that. Then there's the eleven hour minimum trip to Mexico to see the Calaveras, and then the trip of at least four hours, probably more like six, to get to La Iglesias.

… It's a round journey that could happen in the time provided for it, but it's really unlikely.

Lydia and Mason are rescued from their Berserker by a combination of baseball bats and the timely arrival of an explosive wielding Sheriff Stilinski, making him the first character in the series to take down a Berserker. I'd call for confetti and glitter, but as Berserkers apparently turn into gold glitter upon their demises, it has already been provided.

Baseball bat!

At the church, Malia, Liam and Peter get the better of Scott!Berserker – which is odd, I kind of doubt their ability to get the better of him even when he isn't an invulnerable Norse bear-skull-man – and Malia prepares to kill him with his own knife, only for Stiles and Kira to interrupt them. Scottserker takes advantage of the brief hesitation to start attacking Liam.

(As this is going on, the Berserker and Kate return for Round 2 with the Calaveras, and Chris loads up his special flower bullet. It's all very 60s.)

At Liam's desperate prompting, Scott tears off his Berserker armour, finally removing the skull. He figures out immediately that Peter was the one who taught Kate how to make Berserkers, and Peter admits it, saying that Scott's power belongs to the Hale family and that Peter should rightly have it. He tosses Malia against a wall, and Kira prepares to attack, but Scott seems to want this to be single combat to the death.

(What is up with Peter's face, by the way? He's the only person with a werewolf transformation like this.)

In the carpark battle, things are not going well, and Kate is about to show down with the Calaveras leader when – well, it's not a wolf, for sure. Wolves do not look like that. That is – that is a black alsatian – when a black alsatian leaps out and tackles her to the ground. The weresatian turns out to be Derek, who says he wasn't dying, but evolving, and proceeds to, while stark naked, grapple with a Berserker and effortlessly kill it.

Derek Hale becomes the second character to successfully take down a Berserker.

While not even dressed for the occasion.

Kate is shot by Peter's flower bullet, and she flees, although we'll presumably see what the flower bullet does before long.

Scott and Peter continue their fight, which is really beautifully choreographed, A++ fight scene direction there. Scott is victorious, and either knocks out or kills Peter – it's not wholly clear.

Lookin' good, Scott.

Chris pursues Kate down into the temple, where we finally get some actual proper discussion of Alison and her death. Kate flees, though, and we don't get to see what the yellow flower is actually meant to do.

The next morning, everyone gets ready to leave. Peter's not dead, it seems, and Chris is leaving with the Calaveras. Braeden, meanwhile, tells Derek that she was a US Marshall, once, until she spent too long trying to track down one person – the Desert Wolf, Malia's mysterious mother. The gang gets back to Beacon Hills in startlingly short order, where Stiles immediately finds himself punished by being handcuffed to a desk in the Sheriff's office while the Sheriff and Malia get pizza.

At school, Kira gets her first tail, in the form of an obsidian shuriken, while Stiles, Scott and Liam try to explain their absence to Coach Finstock. Lydia has other things on her mind, though, as she visits Parrish at the police station to give him a paper copy of the Bestiary, saying she'll help him figure out what he is.

In the closing scene of the series, Peter is put in a cell beneath Eichen House, and meets his new cellmate, Doctor Valack. Peter is apparently not familiar with the good doctor, so Valack elects to show him who he is, via displaying his third eye. Screaming does ensue.

So, that's the end of that series. It's been renewed for a fifth series, albeit one split into two parts, much like series three. Series three was functionally two series all on its own, so perhaps series five will be the same. There's a lot to look forward to, including finding out what Parrish is, seeing the inevitable return of Kate, and probably seeing more Doctor Valack, who at the moment looks like our best candidate for the next villain.

This was a fun series, and I actually enjoyed doing the recaps of it a lot, problems like Derek using slurs notwithstanding. The masterpost for it will be going up some time within the next three days, so look out for that.  

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