Teen Wolf - “Time Of Death” (season 4, episode 8)
If you ask me why I think Teen Wolf is better than most of the other supernatural series on TV, I’d say it’s because creator/writer Jeff Davis not only knows how to bring horror to the small screen, he can write a good mystery as well. At the heart of every Teen Wolf season, there’s been a conundrum that our teenaged heroes have had to unravel, and this time around, it’s the identity (and the motives) of the Benefactor. Every episode throws new red herrings and new dangers at our heroes, and of course they prevail, but not without a cost. Derek is losing his powers, Malia and Liam can’t control theirs, Lydia is slowly going crazy, Peter keeps growing stronger, and Scott finds himself continually forced to become the one thing he doesn’t want to be — a predator — just to protect his friends and family.
The most powerful images during “Time Of Death” take place when Scott is in a coma-like dream state (we’ll get to why later,) and he keeps seeing himself and his Beta Liam. At first, it looked like the series brought in Dylan Sprayberry as Liam just to be another hunky body in the locker room, but once Scott had to “turn” Liam into a wolf, their relationship — Alpha to Beta, mentor to protégé — really started to take on a powerful meaning for Scott.
In the dream, Liam playfully tosses Scott a lacrosse ball and when Scott catches it, Liam says, “that why we call you the captain.” But Scott replies that he can’t be the one to kill the Benefactor because he’s not a killer. Every time the dream repeats himself, Liam finds himself in greater and greater danger, and Scott’s fangs get bigger and bigger, until eventually Liam is axed to death, first by the No-Mouth Man, and then by Scott himself. Clearly Scott’s responsibilities as the team’s Alpha are really weighing on him; he’s afraid of not just failing his pack, but of what he might be forced to do to protect them.
As the episode begins, Agent McCall is recording a voice memo detailing his killing of The Chemist last week. McCall tells Scott that he has to go to FBI headquarters for a review of the shooting, but when he gets back, they need to have “a talk” about all the weird things that have been going on in Beacon Hills. Stiles has had the talk with his dad, and Scott with his mom, but so far, the FBI agent in the family has no idea that his son can sprout fangs or that his hometown is infested with supernatural monsters. Am I reading too much into this, or does the parent always die just before they’re about to have a life-changing conversation with one of their children? Come back safe, Agent McCall!
Scott, Stiles, and Argent, meanwhile, have decided to take the offensive and lure the Benefactor out into the open. Lydia is away at her family’s lake house, or surely she would have mentioned how utterly insane the plan is, but the team goes ahead with it anyway. Kira uses her kitsune electrical powers to zap Scott’s heart, leaving him in a near-death coma that his Alpa powers can sustain for 45 minutes. They convince doctors at the hospital that Scott has actually been murdered, and Melissa McCall puts on an Academy-Award caliber performance sobbing in the hall, until we find out that she and Kira’s mom are in on the whole thing.
Argent contacts the Benefactor and claims the bounty on Scott, but says that visual confirmation is impossible and the Benefactor will have to come and see the body for himself. Stiles has set up a command post tapping into all of the video surveillance in the hospital, so they’ll see the Benefactor if he approaches. If the kill isn’t confirmed and the bounty wired to Argent’s account in 40 minutes, “I will come after you,” Argent writes the Benefactor. Great, that leaves a whole 5 minutes margin before Kira has to wake Scott out of the coma before he dies. What could go wrong?
Well, lots. Somebody blows up the hospital’s generators, so all of Stiles’ monitors go dead. Then Kate Argent shows up, with her creepy Bezerkers, who easily overpower Liam (whom we finally get to see in full hairy werewolf mode) and Kira. Kate assures Stiles and Argent that she’s not the Benefactor, she just needs to make sure Scott isn’t really dead. Turns out that she’s reporting to Peter Hale, who’s greatly relieved that Scott is still alive. It’s certainly no coincidence that Peter seems to be getting stronger as Derek gets weaker, and we know Kate had something to do with it, since she’s the one who turned Derek back into a teenager at the beginning of this season. It would seem Peter will be after Scott’s powers next. But he certainly doesn’t seem to be the Benefactor, since it’s his stolen money that’s financing this whole thing. But then why isn’t Peter on the dead pool list? Questions, questions…
Peter also finds a little time to bond with his birth daughter Malia, and shows her the adoption papers he has hidden in the Hale family vault. Only the papers really don’t say anything, since there’s a big bloody hole in one of the documents. Peter does tell Malia that her real mother is probably still alive, and goes by the name “the Desert Wolf.” “That’s a coyote,” says Malia, and, well, since Malia transforms into a were-coyote, it all seems to make a certain twisted sense.
Back at the hospital, time ticks down to zero and Kira zaps Scott back to life just in time, but the Benefactor doesn’t show up. Scott thinks for a second and surmises, who would know if a person was dead or not, without having to see the body? A Banshee, of course. So the Benefactor must either be a Banshee, or is working with one. (Funny how Scott came up with that. Stiles is usually the one who figures out the riddles.)
Speaking of Banshees, Lydia has spent this episode out at her family’s lake house, where she is trying to figure out how the photo of Meredith at the house she found could possible exist. Lydia’s mom shows up, worried about her, and Mrs. Martin decides that since Lydia’s 18th birthday is just a few weeks away, this would be the perfect time to give her… her dead grandmother’s ashes. It seems Grandma had been locked up in Eichen House before she died because she was “hearing voices,” and her dying wish was for Lydia to spread her ashes on the lake on Lydia’s eighteenth birthday. (Could grandma’s stay at Eichen House been where Meredith met the Martin family? Hmmm.)
Lydia does what any normal teenage girl would do in this situation – opens the urn and thrusts her fist into the ashes. Yick! Turns out they’re not grandma’s ashes after all, but wood ash (that substance that repels werewolves, so integral to Scott’s defeat of Gerard in Season One.) In fact, Lydia’s mom says the whole cabin is made of wood ash. (An interesting proposition, but weren’t there a whole bunch of werewolves inside the house during that crazy freshman party a few weeks ago?) Then Mrs. Martin hands Lydia a note that her grandmother wrote just before she died. When Lydia opens it, it’s written in the same code as the dead pool letters! Could Lydia’s grandmother still be alive, and working with the Benefactor?
Okay, remember I just mentioned Gerard Argent? Jeff Davis recently gave an interview in which he said the mystery of the Benefactor will connect back to Season One. Who else from Season One would be crazy enough to want every supernatural being in Beacon Hills dead, and know about the Hale family fortune, and be somehow connected to Kate Argent’s resurrection as a were-jaguar? Could the Benefactor be an Argent?
To be continued…