Teen Wolf: “Letharia Vulpina” Review

7165044izdsoxmu1Coming out of last week’s Teen Wolf, I don’t think any of us were expecting a happy time this go-round. Well, we were right; this episode was so full of pain and fear and chaos that, well, it would probably make a chaos demon very happy. Stop the feels train, please. I want to get off.

Spoilers after the jump.

The episode opens on Deaton, sneaking into a Japanese estate ostensibly to provide veterinary services to a sick wolf. His true motive, though, is to retrieve a potent nogitsune poison (called Letharia vulpina, hence the episode title) that grows on the grounds, which he does before disappearing back into the night.

kira glowing eyesBack in Beacon Hills, everyone’s dealing with the fallout from the hospital electricity malfunction. Although Kira managed to absorb the energy before it hurt many people, a few bystanders did get electrocuted. Isaac also got shocked and was hospitalized because the damage refused to heal. Sheriff Stilinski is heartbroken because Stiles disappeared from the hospital after his diagnosis, and no one has had the heart to break it to him that his son is actually possessed and not terminally ill.

Meanwhile, because apparently no one goes to class these days, Scott and the twins find none other than the prodigal Stiles himself hiding in the high school’s basement. He insists that he’s having a lucid moment and that the nogitsune is not in control, and warns them that the demon has set up a number of lethal traps around Beacon Hills as a way to spread chaos. They spring into action to catch the traps before they are sprung, but one way or another, all of them are. Coach gets an arrow in the stomach and the Sheriff’s office is destroyed by a nail bomb, killing a deputy in the process. Scott has his hands full all episode using his Alpha powers to draw the pain off of those who’ve been hurt.


me 2 lydia, me 2

In the meantime, Lydia and Allison team up in the most epic of ways to confront Peter Hale, who’s been creeping around the high school. Although I’d rather Lydia never have to be near that skeevy asshole, period, this scene was pretty well handled. Neither girl was willing to give Peter any leeway for his previous attacks on Lydia, and Allison was very protective of her friend throughout. Peter wanted Lydia to use Talia’s claws to retrieve a memory that Talia had stolen from him, and Lydia eventually reveals that the secret was that Peter had a child of his own. After Allison tazes him and they get the fuck out of there, the two girls piece together that the child is Malia, the were-coyote of previous episodes.

Elsewhere, Mrs. Yukimura has sent her Oni after Stiles again. Scott and Kira rush him to Deaton’s office, since the mountain ash barriers there should keep him safe. Kira, displaying new-found sparring powers that she clearly is not quite sure how to use, helps Scott beat up the Oni and give Stiles a chance to get inside. Despite Kira’s help, though, Scott gets stabbed through the gut with a katana in the tussle, and Kira helps get him inside and safe. However, once they’re in, Stiles turns on Kira, knocking her out, and corners Scott. It turns out the nogitsune had been in control the entire time, and he had been encouraging Scott to sap others’ pain from them because the fox spirit feeds on pain and chaos. He begins to draw all of the pain that Scott has collected out of him, and is only stopped when Deaton appears and injects him with the poison he’d collected. Unfortunately, though, the injection will only stop the nogitsune for a time, it won’t kill it.

tumblr_n16i89raJt1soagx1o5_1280This was a very well-written episode and the twists had me on the edge of my seat throughout. It definitely reinforced the “no character is safe” mentality that is part of being a Teen Wolf fan, as Isaac and Coach are now both out of commission, Scott has a hole in his stomach, we’re down a deputy, and Derek has a back full of shrapnel from being in the police station when the nail bomb went off. I’m afraid to wonder what might happen in the last six or so episodes this season.

We saw the unlikely team-up of Derek and Chris Argent this episode, as it turns out both of them were targeted by the nogitsune. I’m interested to see what happens with that, as both the Hales and Argents would have been around when Claudia Stilinski was sick/also possessed, and there may be some family history to be unearthed there. The nogitsune seems to be holding onto some sort of grudge, and it would make sense if the city’s two big supernatural families were involved somehow.

My biggest issue throughout this whole season continued to be a problem this episode: Writers, please fucking stop being mean to Isaac. Of the whole main crew of kids, only one is the victim of a lifetime of physical abuse. Of the whole team, he is the only one who has been constantly sniped at verbally, beaten up by his friends for stupid reasons, and is now electrocuted and stuck in a coma which is incurable by all available natural or supernatural means. Isaac is an adorable sweetheart and he is never going to begin to recover from his abuse if the people he loves keep hurting him! He doesn’t deserve to be coma-tized for a plot development!

peter malia

Do they really look that much alike?

I’m also annoyed that Peter continues to be involved in the storyline at all. Maybe the realization that he has a teen daughter of his own will force him to realize how disgusting his actions toward Lydia were, which might be possible considering he acted like a semi-decent person around Cora. However, I’m more hoping for something along the lines of a heroic redemptive death protecting Malia. Then, as with Night Vale’s Apache Tracker, everyone can agree that he did do one good thing but it didn’t cancel out a lifetime of being, in Peter’s case, a manipulative, rapist asshole.

Lady Geek Girl mentioned during the episode that Teen Wolf needs an anime-esque filler episode with a trip to the beach or a hot springs field trip or something to lighten the tension and allow everyone to have fun for a while. At the rate the stakes are increasing, though, I don’t think we’re gonna see a happy ending this side of the season finale, and maybe not even then. Things definitely don’t look like they’re gonna improve for Stiles next episode, so y’all might want to stock up on tissues as this season barrels toward its finale.

Till next week, friends!

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About Lady Saika

"We lead frantic lives. Filled with needs and responsibilities, but completely devoid of any actual purpose. I say let’s try to enjoy the simple things. Life should be like a basket of chicken wings: salty, full of fat and vinegar, and surrounded by celery you’ll never actually eat, even when you’re greedily sopping up the last viscous streaks of buffalo sauce from the wax paper with your spit-stained index finger. Yes, that is as life should be, Night Vale."

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