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Teen Wolf - 3.01 - Tattoo - Retro Recap / Review

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Note - In honor of Teen Wolf's return on January 6, I decided to retro recap the 2 episodes from season three I was too lazy/busy to do earlier. Look also for articles, polls, and rankings - one new item each day up to the midseason premiere next Monday. Also coming, a preview to my new column, Last Week in TV, the first of which will be dedicated to Teen Wolf. Finally, I have attached a list of links for all my season 3 recaps below if anyone is interested or just wants to refresh what happened in season 3 so far. Until Peter snarks again….

Season 3 recap list

Previously - Derek made Erica and Boyd werewolves, Allison and Scott were drippy, and an Alpha Pack kidnapped Erica and Boyd. Boy those were short previouslies for a premiere.

In a badly lit room, someone drags Isaac and electroshocks him back to consciousness. This can't be good. A woman tells him to be quiet, but frankly lady, you're electrocuting him and you've got a 50-50 chance of being evil. Sorry, it's Beacon Hills. Make that 70-30. Isaac has been mauled and Mystery Chick (MC) says it was to share memories. Um, what? Try talking. Isaac doesn't remember anything and MC says it's an old werewolf trick. As if they didn't already have the advantage. MC: "Listen to me. No matter what happens, you hold on okay? You hold on tight." That's never good either. She gets them out on her motorcycle and an epic chase scene follows. A hot teen werewolf, aka the typical, tries to knock them down to no avail so his twin brother gets in on the action. Sadly Mystery Motorcycle Chick (MMC) doesn't know the area so it’s a dead end, not a werewolf that gets them. I'm okay with this plot device because one twin takes a flying leap off the other's back and it's flying werewolf time. Woo hoo! One small problem - once launched, it's pretty easy to avoid where he's landing and MMC is no fool. She heads through a glass door, but the shock is too much for Isaac who passes out, taking the cycle down with him. Terrible timing for blood loss to kick in. The twins find them and…start taking off their shirts? Huh? I know this is Teen Wolf, where eye candy naked torsos have their own salary structure, but this is beyond blatant. Of course, no other werewolves merge into one SuperHulk of a werewolf either. Yowza! That's one big mind meld. I particularly like the zipper face effect. Isaac crawls over to MMC and she shoots off an electric charge thing. Nice to know electricity still works on werewolves as they split back into two again. Love the weapon, lady!

The credits lead into a tattoo parlor where a walking billboard for skin art looks at a piece of paper with two horizontal bars on it. Tattoo Guy: "Boy, it's a good thing you drew me a picture." Snark from a random extra in the first 6 minutes. This is going to be a great season. Apparently Scott wants to use his vet money to permanently etch the lamest tattoo on the planet into his skin. Stiles suggests one that looks remarkably like the kanima as I laugh. Stiles: "Too soon." Yeah. Perhaps Jackson made rounds in Beacon Hills' tattoo district last year. Stiles, like a good best friend, tries to talk Scott out of this because he'll be explaining his tattoo choice forever. They banter a bit before Tattoo Guy gives us "tattoo" etymology. It wouldn't be Teen Wolf without at least one Word of the Episode and in-your-face symbolism. Luckily Stiles passes out from the needle in Scott's arm and I immediately flash back to the time I was at the hospital with an ear infection and my mom passed out, hitting her head on a trash can. I was done in minutes; it took my mom hours to recover. As they leave, Scott's arm starts burning as it heals itself of the tattoo. Hmm, werewolf as tattoo removal. It is cheaper if you can handle the pesky side effects. Stiles feels confident to share the majority's opinion: "Thank God; I hated it." Ha! Good riddance. Meanwhile Lydia and Allison banter about a not-date they are going on. It's complete filler so Cliff Notes version. Allison lived in France for 4 months. Jackson is a full-fledged werewolf, trained by Derek and living in England. Lydia: "Whatever. He left. And seriously, an American werewolf in London, like that's not going to be a disaster." Bwah! Stiles and Scott pull up to them at a red light. Both Scott and Allison freak. Wacky car hijinks ensue. It's all exposition crazy leading up to a deer running right into Lydia's car. Scott and Stiles run out, where Lydia justifiably freaks and Scott uses his werewolf senses to say the deer was scared. Duhn duhn duhn. Everywhere else that means hunting season. In Beacon Hills, the music of future doom portends something much worse.

Possibly connecting to Isaac's current hospital trip. Mama McCall is on duty, thankfully, as Isaac demands she check out MMC. She mumbles about finding the alpha, but Mama mistakenly thinks she means Derek. MMC: "No, not Hale. McCall, Scott McCall." Sadly Mama is too far away to hear it or we'd have answers right now. I'm distracted by Scott as an alpha and my dreams of avoiding yet another Boy King plot fade. Why do genre shows always need to make one character the most super specialest of all? Teams of differing specialties working together are far more interesting. But plot movement must wait as the teens prepare for the first day of school. Scott works out his body and brain at once. Got to love reading while doing pull ups. Saves time and provides ample eye candy. If the sheer volume of books is any indication, Scott is determined to pass this year. Coach will be pleased. Scott brings the word of the day - ephemeral, combined with wallpaper of him and Allison. Ha! Alas, Allison is not doing well if the sad strumming music in the background is any indication, but Argent enters so all's better. He asks if she's ready to start school, and offers to basically home school her if she'd prefer. Coming back to Beacon Hills was likely a big mistake for their health, but a show needs their main female protagonist I guess. Argent helps her off the bed and into a hug. Awww. They need more father-daughter moments. As the music suddenly shifts to synth pop, it's on to Stiles, who is researching deer related crashes, and a weary Papa Stiles, who just wants him to leave. Sheriff: "I'm not going to beg you." Stiles: "Yeah, good. I'm impervious to your influence anyway." Sheriff: "Would you consider a bribe?" Stiles: "You couldn't meet my price." Sheriff: "Extortion?" Stiles: "You've got nothing on me." That only leaves physical removal. Sheriff pulls Stiles chair away as he tries frantically to keep contact with the keyboard. BWAH!!! I love these family moments. Sadly, Lydia is parentally abandoned as she puts on makeup and dismisses the boy toy in her bed. How can we know so much about everyone else's parents, even dead ones, yet Lydia's are never to be found?

Arriving at school in a poor man's motorcycle, Scott still isn't over the tattoo thing. Derek has one so Scott's sure they can. Stiles points out Boyd and Erica's missing posters, which take precedence, as the principal yells about the library while holding a sword. Ha! Smart move to duck out of there guys. Of course, that happened last school year so shouldn't it have been dealt with by now? At the lockers, Lydia checks out the new freshman while Allison reminds her they're only 14 and that being single is a time for self-betterment and reflection. Sure. Lydia: "Allison, I love you so if you need to do that thing where we talk about me and pretend like we're not actually talking about you, it's totally fine." Ha! About time, since it happens a lot. While I'm the first to want Lydia to have an actual role this season, I don't think sexual predator counts. I was thinking more of being an active part of the team instead of the crazy best friend. You know, helping to take out the Alpha twins sauntering down the hall, not dating them. Especially after they sliced up Isaac, who is recovering nicely in the hospital. Too nicely in fact, given that he's scheduled for surgery. This is the time to help Isaac skedaddle but that's a no go with a cop outside. Isaac: "Can you do something?" Mama McCall: "Me do something? I'm relatively new to all of this." Isaac says to call Derek, while I wonder why he doesn't hop out the window. They've scaled buildings before. Melissa can't go a hold of Derek. "Do you have any other emergency werewolf contacts?" Ha! Just Scott. She goes to call but is stopped by Sheriff, who needs to talk to MMC. Sheriff: "Since the amnesiac in 215 can't tell us anything, I need the girl with the modified military stun gun in 216 to answer a few questions." Bwah! Great dialogue tonight. Actually MMC overhears the whole conversation since she's draining her IV. Wait a minute. Isaac's on the second floor? Man, jump out the freaking window. Problem solved!

At school, Allison and Scott continue their awkwardness, as she sits in front of him in English class. Oh boy. Stiles gives Scott a thumbs-up for suaveness, but he's saved by everyone's phone getting a text message simultaneously. Welcome to Beacon Hills, Miss Blake. Having all your students' phone numbers on the first day of school is not creepy at all. It's a cool way to introduce the first novel though, Heart of Darkness. Foreshadowing much? She has them turn off their cell phones, right as Melissa tries to call Scott. Urgh! An orderly gives Isaac a sedative before surgery over his objections. Instantly groggy, the camera pans to her barefooted claws. Screech! Nope, this stops right here. I don't care who Shoeless is, walking barefoot on a hospital floor is the height of nasty. You might as well tramp through urinals. This squicks me out so much I want Isaac's drugs. Blech. Shoeless' eyes glow red, so it's alpha territory. Why not kill Isaac here? Or me, since Allison and Scott resort to passing notes in class. Thanks Mama McCall for putting an end to that nonsense right away by calling Scott out of school. Before he leaves, Blake warns him about attendance and Scott swears he's going to change before incorrectly using ephemeral. You've got the denotation, Scott. Work on the connotation next. Stiles however is more worried about Lydia's leg bandage. Stiles: "Is that from the accident?" Lydia: "No, Prada bit me." Stiles: "Your dog?" Lydia: "No, my designer handbag." Bwah! All that genius, all that snark. I love Lydia's potential. Let's showcase it this year. Stiles flips out about the deer and dog acting weirdly as they talk about strange things occurring in threes. Lydia pooh-poohs the idea right as a bird flies into the window. Um, an entire flock of birds. As they break through, Blake screams for everyone to get down. Are you kidding me? Get out and close the door behind you! You have to have common sense in Beacon Hills or you end up as dead as that classroom full of birds.

Which Scott misses as he heads to the hospital. Good for him. He deserves a break. Not so much Shoeless who is disappointed MMC knocked out the cop to escape. More power to her. She's the most interesting thing in this premiere and I can't get wait for her to kick more butt. Perhaps she and Allison can team up. Scott arrives and Melissa worries the werewolf action will derail his Guide to a Superior You schtick. Scott: "It's not going to stop. I'm going to be better this year. A better student, a better son, a better friend, a better everything. I promise." I love Scott's earnestness, although something tells me his new resolve will be sorely tested. As Scott heads to Isaac's room, MMC sneaks out the back. Alas, Isaac is already in surgery and healed. Both the surgeon and I think this is pointless. Scrubs Wolf wheels him out of the surgery bay while I ponder about why they didn't take him before. I honestly don't get it. However music cues on Teen Wolf are hard to miss, so the seemingly harmless blind man in the elevator with Scott immediately gives me the wiggins, especially when he uses Scott as a guide dog. Random extras don't get a villain serenade intro. Scott finally ditches Blind Guy only to see Scrubs Wolf take Isaac in the elevator. Scott rushes in before the doors close and an epic fight begins around Isaac's unconscious body. For such a tight space, Scott gets the tar beat out of him. Just as Elevator Alpha goes for the throat, monologuing all the way, Derek bowling ball grips his back and tosses him down the hallway. Strike! That's what the villain monologue gets you. And welcome back, Derek Hale. I've missed you these last 28 minutes. Derek: "Aren't you supposed to be in school?" Ha! Is Derek now Scott's dad? Love the deadpan delivery.

Speaking of dead, the police ought to build a new station on the high school campus by now. Sirens blare as Stiles picks a bird feather out of Blake's hair. Yep, typical day. I strongly suggest you run Blake. At least transfer. Things will only get worse. Except Argent and Sheriff are on the scene, so immediate upswing. Argent checks out Allison, while she exposits the weird things afoot in Beacon Hills. I'm waiting for the day nothing weird happens and no one dies or goes missing. That will be truly frightening, signifying the end of the world. Sheriff asks Argent about the animals too since he overheard Stiles talking about Argent being a hunter. Argent: "Not anymore." You break my heart, Argent. You need to share your awesomeness with the teens. Stiles instead shares the bird suicide news with Scott as Derek carries Isaac, who suffers from internal alpha wounds, into his dilapidated former home. He tells Scott he's moved (minus basic creature comforts I'm sure) and that a rival pack is in town, before nicely telling Scott to go home. He also says he owes Scott one, which in teen speak I guess means stop saving a dying werewolf's life to give me a tattoo. Yeah, I'm not feeling the priorities either. Except MMC. She's laser focused on Scott and yet keeps missing him. She shows up at the school, questions Allison and Lydia on his whereabouts, bruises them, and then flees when she sees Alpha Twins. Yeah not weird at all. Allison starts to follow her but Argent pops in to give them a ride and reiterate that they are no longer hunters. At this point, Argent should adopt Lydia and end the charade that she actually has parents. That one time her dad showed up could have been a fever dream, right? No? Then ship them off to London with Jackson. She deserves better.

Like Sheriff Dad, who's having a bad day too. Stymied, he goes to Vet Boss for help. Alas, all he gets for his trouble is more weird animal behavior, an entire room of suicide cats. It's disgusting, which we trade off for boring. I know Tattoo is the title, but must we really spend so much time on it? Derek sees Scott's lame tattoo vestiges, Scott dust doodles, and we get tattoo etymology AGAIN. It means "to mark something" in Tahitian and "open wound" in Samoan, not that you care. Scott wants the tattoo as a reward for not calling Allison over the summer, so it's a symbol of their love and loss and tragic…sorry, the sound went all Charlie Brown on me. Wahn, wahn, wahn….Allison is his open wound. Biggest momentum killer of the season and its only the premiere. Thankfully Derek brings out a blowtorch to end the maudlin. Stiles tries to leave, but Derek stops him. Somehow scrawny Stiles is supposed to hold his in pain, werewolf best friend down. It isn't a fantasy show for nothing. Derek wasn't kidding when he said it would hurt. I've seen torture scenes less painful to watch. Yikes! That's some tattoo commitment. Scott eventually passes out but awakens to a bright, shiny, still ridiculous tattoo to confuse all future sexual partners with. Hope he comes up with a passable story quickly. He does use the word of the day, ephemeral, one more time so at least he'll have a good vocabulary. The anvils of title symbolism crash down so no one misses them. Tattoos are permanent; life ephemeral; this scene interminable. Yet it must not have taken too long or MMC stopped to take in a few classes in her flight. She heads to the locker room where her best defense is a broken broom handle. Odds are not in your favor, honey. Perhaps slipping out the back door is a better plan. No? Oh well.

Meanwhile Scott's distracted by new paint on the front door. Derek's hiding something so Scott practices for a job in paint removal, revealing an Alpha Nazi symbol. Derek explains an Alpha pack is in town. "Alpha pack" will never make sense, given the whole idea of alphas, but they have Erica and Boyd. Peter, Isaac, and Derek have been looking for them to no avail. Scott reasonably asks how to take down an entire pack of alphas. Derek: "With all the help I can get." Yeah, you guys are in trouble, but you're not the only ones. Isaac wakes to ask about "the girl." Derek: "What girl?" The girl who's currently kicking butt surrounded by alphas. I love this chick. Spoke too soon. Shoeless claws her across the face but former Blind Guy, now named Deucalion, is the real threat. He villain monologues as she spouts the super special Scott routine again, claiming Deucalion is afraid of him. Deucalion moustache twirls: "I'm aware of a certain potential threat, but then someone once taught me a very smart way to eliminate threats. Get someone else to do it for you." MMC: "Derek." Me: "Nooooo!!!!" An alpha rivalry between Scott and Derek? How lame! Why can't they both be leaders, strengthening each other's weaknesses? Gah! I'm so distraught over this reveal I almost miss Deucalion slicing MMC's throat with his claws. Really? She was a great potential character. I want to know more about her than the main characters frankly. Such a waste, especially as we flash over to Allison and Lydia and their mysterious pattern bruising. Yep, you heard that right. MMC is so skilled, she even leaves clues in bruises she creates. It leads to where Boyd and Erica presumably are being held.

Considering how rapid paced the pilot was and all the main event episodes after it, this premiere was a bit of a letdown. On any other show, it would have been exciting stuff, but there was far too much exposition, long monologues, and general taffy-slow scenes for this to be a quality Teen Wolf premiere. I understand the characters have had 4 months of healing and change since we saw them last but even the humor was few and far between. The saving grace was that much of the dialogue (not monologue) was well-written and the idea of an Alpha pack, no matter how bizarre, offers the show many directions to go in. How it ties to Animals Behaving Badly is intriguing as well. I still can't believe they presumably killed off a character who I thought would be recurring at the least, and an important player at the most though. Maybe it only looked like a death blow. Right? Perhaps as the story continues, we'll learn more about her and why she came. What info does she have for Scott? Who sent her? What do they know about Beacon Hills and how? This premiere did do its job in that it set up interest for the stories to come. I just wish it did it with more traditional Teen Wolf flair.


For a premiere: C-
For Teen Wolf as a whole: B-

Best scene - Mystery Motorcycle Chick saves Isaac
Best reason to watch - sets up the alpha pack mytharc
MVP - Mystery Motorcycle Chick
Words of the week - ephemeral and tattoo
Most missed - Peter, then Jackson
Best reason to fast forward - tie - monologues / Scott and Allison awkwardness
Biggest Shock - Alpha twins combine ("Wonder Twin powers activate.")

Screencaps by

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" Podcast for Southgate Media Group, and guests on ArrowCast for DVMPE.   Right now she is creating a Last Week in TV column for her blog and others. ~ "I speak TV."

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