Another Monday, another Teen Wolf episode. In this episode, Stiles throws books off a shelf like an angry cat and Chris Argent is a Jedi, but all this gets pushed aside so that Scott and Kira can listen to a really long story that proves why someone else should be writing this show.
Spoilers below the cut!
“The Fox and the Wolf” disappointingly ended up not being about Scott and Stiles, but about Kira’s mother and a random werewolf lady she knew during her time in a Japanese internment camp. Sadly, our werewolf lady is very undeveloped and the poor writing made the overall story somewhat… meh. This is, of course, my biggest problem with not only this episode, but the writing in Teen Wolf overall.
So it turns out being a kitsune has its advantages, as Mrs. Yukimura is actually 900 years old. We learn that she, not Kira’s grandmother, was the one imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during the 1940s
and that it’s her fault that the nogitsune exists. As she explains to Scott and Kira, during her time in one of these terrible camps, Kira’s mom would use her sneaky fox skills to steal things from the soldiers and give them to the other prisoners. However, she took too much, especially medicine, so to avoid suspicion she returned many of the supplies. Unfortunately it turned out that the doctor for the camp—with the help of some of the other soldiers—was selling medicine on the black market for a hefty profit. So when the Japanese in the internment camp started getting sick, there was no medicine to help them and people started dying. This caused a riot which led to the death of many of the Japanese prisoners and some of the soldiers, including one soldier named Reese whom Mrs. Yukimura was in love with.
Obviously upset by everything that happened, Mrs. Yukimura wanted revenge. She was too weak from being shot in the riot, so she called on a nogitsune to take control of her body so she could have revenge. However, the nogitsune possessed her burned and bandaged dead lover, Reese, instead. When Mrs. Yukimura finally recovered, she found that the nogitsune has killed and terrorized nearly everyone. With the help of Satomi, a werewolf she was imprisoned with, they finally stopped the nogitsune. Mrs. Yukimura then imprisoned its spirit in the nemeton,
and it was only released when Stiles, Scott, and Allison revived it.
This one story took the whole episode, and I still have no idea why. No wait, I do. It’s because of bad writing. I have often complained that Teen Wolf needs to slow down its story and take more time to develop things. This was definitely one of those times. Why couldn’t this story have been revealed gradually over the course of a couple episodes? This unnecessary info dump caused a lot of other stories to be pushed to the side. For example, the episode starts with Scott having the picture of a young girl who looks exactly like Kira (it turns out to be Mrs. Yukimura), which Stiles and Malia found last episode. Scott mentions Malia giving it to him, but we never see this, in my opinion, extremely important meeting between a new female character and our main character, because then we wouldn’t have time for the info dump. What the hell, Teen Wolf writers?!
Okay, I’m going to sound crazy for a moment but bear with me: the Teen Wolf writers should take a writing tip from Heroes. Wait, before you stop reading, let me explain. Yes, Heroes, especially after Season 1, was pretty poorly written, but the one thing it did well was having multiple character story arcs every episode.That’s what the Teen Wolf writers need to do. It almost seems like the Teen Wolf writers are treating each episode as if it’s a mini-movie in its own right (unless it’s a two-parter) so it doesn’t attempt to thread the story arcs of its character through each episode.
This, I feel, is actually why the “focus” of this season was Stiles, because Jeff Davis doesn’t seem to be capable of writing about more than one character at a time. Each episode focuses mostly on only one character, and the overall season focuses on mostly one character (Season 1: Scott, Season 2: Jackson, Season 3: Stiles, and rumor is, Season 4: Lydia). So this episode focused on Mrs. Yukimura, but by extension on Stiles and the nogitsune. It’s really not an effective means of storytelling, especially for a show that only has twelve episodes a season.
Well, there are twenty-four episodes this season, but 3A and 3B are basically two different twelve-episode seasons. So admittedly, not all of Season 3 is about Stiles. 3A seemed to focus on—remarkably—two characters, Scott and Derek, but the main goal of 3A seemed to be resetting the Teen Wolf universe by reviving the nemeton and introducing new mythology. Even so, the end of 3A gave me the impression that Scott, Allison, and Stiles were the three characters the show would focus on, and for a while 3B seemed to continue that. Yet now all focus has been turned to Stiles, which would be fine if the writing allowed other characters, especially Scott and Allison, to shine as well. The beginning of 3B did this to some extent. Until last week’s episode and this episode, I did feel like Scott was still at the heart of this season, but now we’ve had two episodes with very little Scott, and almost no development of his role as an Alpha or what being a True Alpha entails. And this is because the writers seem incapable of threading multiple characters’ story arcs throughout the episodes.
Even our subplot this episode, featuring Sheriff Stilinski, Derek, Chris Argent, Allison, and Stiles, was really just there to set things up for next week’s episode, and had little bearing on this episode. There was, however, a brief moment of excellent writing for Allison. The Sheriff compliments Allison’s leadership skills and how strong, confident, and in control she seems to be. In response to this, Allison breaks down for a moment and admits she never knows what she is doing and how scared she is all the time. Sheriff, being an excellent dad, comforts and reassures her. Afterward, Allison pulls herself back together and is able to continue being a badass. It was a great moment of character development for Allison, in an episode where Allison wasn’t the focus. Teen Wolf writers, please do stuff like that all the time.
Speaking of kickass ladies, I would be foolish to discuss this episode without talking about Arden Cho’s acting. The woman just knocked it out of the park. Arden Cho had the challenge of playing a young version of Kira’s mother and she just did amazingly. There is no hint of Kira in any of the flashbacks. It is very clear in every way that Arden is playing an older character who has seen more of the world than Kira, and who has more control of her powers than Kira, making her a little bit cocky. Despite my annoyance with this info-dump episode, it was almost worth it to see Arden Cho’s acting ability.
I have to say, despite some parts of my theories about Claudia Stilinski being possessed by the nogitsune and being stopped by the Hales and the Argents being blown to bits, I’m actually going to attempt to stick with it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense that the nogitsune seems to be specifically targeting Derek, Chris, and Allison. We know someone offended the nogitsune; if the offense was Mrs. Yukimura’s fatal strike, then why isn’t
the nogitsune targeting her more? The only time the two even seem to make contact is when Mrs. Yukimura specifically goes after it. So yeah, I’m sticking to my guns; something still isn’t quite clear.
Maybe we’ll find out during next week’s episode when Derek, Chris Argent, Sheriff Stilinski, and Allison finally confront a possessed Stiles. See you next week!