Teen Wolf S03E11: Alpha Pact Review

I’m too upset about this episode to waste bandwidth on it, so I’m doing a written review for this one.

Why was this episode called Alpha Pact? It should have been called Sacrifice, Guardians, or What Does Stiles Do Now?

This episode was very good. If you don’t like Scott. If you don’t like Scott, don’t care for him, hate him, think he shouldn’t be the lead of the show, then this was a very good episode. Derek got a lot of shine; Stiles got a lot of shine, so did Peter; Allison got adequate screen time, and we got back to Lydia. Plus we met a new character whom Stiles got to interact with. A lot. As if he’s the main character and new presences on the show must go through him.

But if you feel, whatever your feelings about Scott, that being a show’s lead protagonist should come with at least the distinct privilege of having a lot of scenes, then this episode sucked. Scott got what must amount to a total of six minutes of screen time, and that’s me being generous.

It would be one thing if this episode was an anomaly, you know? Like, we get so much Scott all the time, and we’re completely up to date on his feelings, what’s going on inside his head, etc, so here is an episode where Scott kind of takes a backseat so that the other characters can shine. I don’t have a fundamental problem with lead characters taking a backseat. But that’s not what went on in this episode. Scott shouldn’t have taken a backseat.

This show isn’t Friends. It’s not a 100% ensemble show. Scott is the main character, and usually you’re hoping favorite secondary characters can get something as close to as much development as the main character, right? But in this episode, and low-key since season 2, Scott fans find themselves hoping Scott can get as much focus, emotionally speaking, as one of the supporting characters! What the hell?

Jeff Davis will focus on Scott in a minute when it’s time for a fight scene, but when it’s time for the character to open its mouth and deal with things emotionally, to freak out, to be sad, to be lost, to need comfort, he quickly focuses the camera on Stiles. He kept the camera on Scott in season 1. But once that season ended, and he became aware of the frenzy for Stiles, it seems he’s let that affect how he approaches the show. The camera was nowhere near Scott when came up with the plan to defeat Gerard in season 2 (and that’s just one example, the one that annoys me to this day), and now, the one thing the show has been building on when it comes to Scott all season comes to pass, and we only see Scott, we only the aftermath for Scott, for six minutes! Can we even call that an aftermath? Can we even call it a fallout?

The first half of this season, Scott’s story has been about trying to stop the sacrifices, yes. But his personal story, the one he doesn’t have in common with anyone else on the show, the one that says, “Yes, this is the main character,” is about becoming a True Alpha; it’s about Deucalion wanting him to join his pack. That happened last episode! Deucalion got what he wanted! Scott went with him. Scott, who thinks everything bad that happens is his fault, who is fast losing hope even though outwardly he would maintain that there’s no way he’ll ever join Deucalion, suddenly he had to go join Deucalion.

THERE WASN’T EVEN ANY EMOTIONAL CONTINUITY FOR SCOTT IN THIS EPISODE! Last week he was crying as he walked off with Deucalion. This week? Dry eyes, questioning Deucalion, protecting Morell, meeting with Stiles and Deaton, a little angst about Allison/Isaac, and taking an ice bath. He didn’t even ask Deucalion what was going to happen next, now that Deucalion got him. Jeff didn’t even give him that.

Scott should have been sweating balls, withdrawn, maybe trying to find a way to get out, maybe trying to think of ways to outsmart Deucalion.

I hate that it was so easy for Stiles to contact him. I hate that it was so easy for Scott to get away from Deucalion to meet with them. Deucalion letting Scott out of his sight made as much sense as Chris giving himself up (what the hell was that?). What that did, Scott getting away from Deucalion, was made Stiles’ story run smoothly. It made Stiles’ part of the episode run smoothly. Stiles had hit a roadblock because he didn’t know where his dad was taken, then he figured it out,

(I’m happy Lydia had an active role in this episode. I love her line about not wanting to hide the things that made her a survivor. But I also realize that the only help she actively gave was helping Stiles out with his panic attack. I wish she’d realized what the tree meant. Yes, Stiles was the one who heard the story, but Lydia realizing what the tree was wouldn’t be the most random thing to happen on this show, or even in this very episode. She finds dead bodies for goodness sake)

and the next step was to carry out Deaton’s plan (for Stiles’ sake), and Scott was needed for that plan. So of course Jeff Davis just yanks Scott away from the Deucalion story he wasn’t telling and plops him into Stiles’ story. Of course Scott could just meet with Stiles and Deaton. He wasn’t doing anything!

I don’t like this episode because we were so deep into Stiles’ emotional space that we got to watch him have a panic attack as a result of everything bad that was going around him. That’s how much pressure Stiles was feeling. Scott? We got Motel California for him (and I guess the episode where he wouldn’t heal himself) and swiftly moved on. How about Scott’s asthma scarily making a return because of how much pressure he’s under? Yes, he’s a werewolf now, but being a werewolf apparently doesn’t keep you from being suicidal. It doesn’t keep those chemicals in the brain at bay, and if an Alpha can go back to being a beta (here are my only words about Derek in this review: his story didn’t belong in this episode), then we can have Scott’s asthma resurface if only for a moment to show the depth of his emotions.

I gushed in my last review about how Scott leaving with Deucalion was a great opportunity to explore Scott’s emotions after what we learned in Motel California. Yes, it’s a great opportunity that Jeff doesn’t care to take.

What Jeff did in this episode, what he did for Scott, was circumvent the story that pointed to Scott being the main protagonist and chose instead to explore the one that involves most of the other characters. Scott is with Deucalion and we saw nothing of it, nothing of him, and he only comes around to take part (not even deal with, because Stiles was the one dealing with it) in the Darach/sacrifice story, the one where Jeff Davis can give Stiles some shine.

Scott was away from Deucalion for so long that he got to go home. Where the hell does Deucalion think Scott went?

And why were they still talking about Derek joining the pack? If Derek joins the pack, it paves the way for Scott. What? Scott doesn’t look up to Derek like that. He’s not going to do something just because he sees Derek doing it. We’ve been shown quite the opposite. Repeatedly.

Isaac didn’t need to be in this episode. His first scene, the one with Derek, was so random and so out of place that I cringed. His thing with Allison is officially being forced. I remember when an anchor didn’t have to be the person standing right next to you. It could’ve been a memory. You know, like in season 2 when Isaac’s anchor was his dad, the one he had good times with. Or how about all those times Allison was Scott’s anchor, and she didn’t have to physically be there. But in this episode, to push Isaac and Allison (and Lydia and Stiles, which isn’t as egregious as the show’s been trying for them since season 1), suddenly the anchor needed to be standing right next to you, touching you. All three kids were holding objects of the parent they were about to die for. That was enough of an anchor? Apparently not.

Lydia and Stiles’ first kiss was nice. I was gobsmacked when they sat down to have a conversation, though. That’s how much time Jeff Davis had for Stiles’ story. What was ridiculous about that scene was Lydia’s line, “If I were really smart, I’d tell you to go see the guidance counselor.” What an awkward line that makes no sense and was only there to get Stiles to realize that he needs to go talk to Morell. Hey, can we trade any and all references to Lydia being smart/a genius for scenes of Lydia and Allison talking about anything except boys and generally being friends? Can we do that? Because I am damn tired of hearing about how smart Lydia is. Her character is mostly made up of references to her being smart, at this point. Speaking of Morell,

When did she decide that she wasn’t with the Alpha Pact? If she is so against what they have in store, why did she go with them in the first place? Why was she with him in the first place? How did rescuing Isaac restore balance, what balance? Why did she run into the woods instead of toward the street when they started chasing her? Why couldn’t we have seen her working with The Girl (I don’t remember her name)? I thought she had Deucalion on a leash? Just WHY, WHY, WHY WHY? This show is so damn frustrating.

I’m going to say that the last thing Jeff needs right now is more supernatural creatures. He still hasn’t figured out what the hell to do with Lydia, who is a Banshee, or the Emissaries he’s apparently had on the show since season 1. Also, he’s having trouble writing his main werewolf. So he needs to chill. Right now the show has a lot of mythology, a couple of creatures, and only one well-written character who reacts to all of them: Stiles. Who is not the main character.

Last, where did Deaton come from? Did his Magical Negro senses tingle when Stiles started to feel harassed by FBI McCall?

I’ll talk about Scott’s dad being in town when Scott actually gets to interact with the dude. These shows needs to stop letting my faves’ friends interact with my faves’ parent before my faves do. Like, “Here is the parent they have a problem with. I’m going to have their White friend (and the friend is always White) who is not your fave interact with them first or during this very emotional moment. Kind of softball it for you.” The Vampire Diaries, Twisted, and now Teen Wolf. Stop it.

There are talks about Scott’s race now that his dad’s been involved. I have feelings and opinions on that, but I’ll talk about them next week. But I’ll say right now that I’m prepared. Scott looks brown and so does Melissa (McCall, not Ponzio), but so do Italians, I hear. If it’s easier for these producers and movie-makers to have a brown (not Black or Asian) person of color pass as some tan white person, then they will do it. After all, white people are just so diverse and come in a couple of shades, ya know. I’m prepared now for Jeff to say Scott is an exotic-looking white boy. Didn’t Tyler Posey even say at one point that he could play Italian? Yes:

In your career, you’ve played characters from a wide range of backgrounds. Do you like the fact that you’re not typecast?

I love it! I mean, people don’t know what race I am. They never know if I’m Hawaiian or Italian or Mexican or Spanish or White. I could play Jewish, I could play anything. I used to get typecast when I was younger…

Your character Scott McCall is an all-American guy. He’s not Latino, right?

Well, his mom has got a dark complexion, so I think he’s half-Latino. It never comes up in the show, but I’m pretty sure that he is Latino. I mean, look at the guy! He looks Latino, a little bit.

Yep. It has never come up on the show. And I don’t trust it when shows with brown Latin@ poc (not Black or Asian) or poc characters who can pass don’t bring it up.

Prepare yourselves, Scott fans. They could bring it up now that Scott’s dad is here. Or they could not :(.

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13 thoughts on “Teen Wolf S03E11: Alpha Pact Review

  1. How about Scott’s asthma scarily making a return because of how much pressure he’s under? Yes, he’s a werewolf now[…]I gushed in my last review about how Scott leaving with Deucalion was a great opportunity to explore Scott’s emotions after what we learned in Motel California. Yes, it’s a great opportunity that Jeff doesn’t care to take.

    I’ve been wanting them to use Scott’s asthma since the beginning of the season. It’s right there waiting to be used and talked about because it’s not like he can have an asthma attack and whoever is with him can go “oh well, i guess you’re fine now” especially if it doesn’t just go away. It’s not like he’s still got his inhaler on him. And Scott talking with (or rather at) Deucalion about some of what he’s been going through would have worked because shows/movies do that kind of thing all the time! “I’m with the bad guy/villain/someone I don’t like, but it’s as if the pressure is gone because maybe I’ve lost or this is actually a space to breathe somehow. So now I can speak” is a trope (though I’ve got no idea which trope it is) that would have been easy to utilize in this episode. I’m disappointed that the show didn’t go there. Additionally, an easy way to segue into that sort of confessional spirit and possibly to get a true reading on what Deucalion actually wants in the end instead of just a band of werewolves, this episode would have been a great opportunity to have Scott ask about/direct Deucalion to reveal what parts of Gerard’s version of events from ten, or however many years ago, was true. A line about how he knows Deucalion isn’t good at keeping promises or something and then Deucalion gets to respond and talk about his granola days or whatever. Something to suggest that the writers are aware of the threadbare but still very present parallel they’re trying to make between “never was going to be a True Alpha but apparently had peace in his heart for like seven seconds”Deucalion and Scott (and possibly something about the incidents/choices that can turn your life upside down, but let’s get real this is Teen Wolf). I don’t know. This episode was an excellent opportunity for one on one interactions between them, considering Deucalion’s goal in coming to town has always been Scott and Scott is…well the show doesn’t give us much on how Scott feels about Deucalion beyond the fear/weakness that’s wrapped up in events that reach beyond Deucalion. But that could have worked to. Scott’s fears/doubts/goals/etc are so much bigger than Deucalion’s goals and that is in an “who knows how the story will end” sort of way is how or why he could lose (obviously Scott wouldn’t…at least he wouldn’t lose in the grand scheme of things, in the “lowest amount of casualties achieved” scheme of things, but the other losses would be enough to carry the show into 3B or you know 4).

    • I agree on everything. We still don’t know what the heck Deucalion wants. Say he gets Scott, in Deucalion’s ideal world, what happens next? And WHEN did Deucalion become aware of Scott? Who told him? And do they mean to tell us that Gerard’s betrayal from 10 or however long ago is still feuling Deucalion to this day? He didn’t consider at all that this WEREWOLF HUNTER might be tricky? -____-

  2. On the race of Scott’s father/Scott. Didn’t Posey mention once that Jeff Davis was like really proud of himself for having him be the main because he was a POC? I remember a quote along those lines making the rounds.

    Not that I think the show is gonna start bringing it up or anything. I’m bothered by it because if Melissa dies (fingers-crossed that she does not) that means she died to make way for his father who is not only a deadbeat, but white so that makes it okay that he has the time of day and story time that the show didn’t give Melissa. If Melissa lives and Father McCall lives I’ll be fine with it because Posey is mixed so I can’t feel weird about someone who is mixed playing someone who is mixed.

  3. You know the show is represented in a pretend society where no one cares about race and what cultures they are tied to but focuses on the plot. This is a place where you are accepted no matter what color or sexual preference. so if Jeff keeps his word we will never know anything about his background, race wise, because this beacon hills is accepting of all cultures. But it I agree with the review! I love me some Stiles but this show is revolved around him and it should be revolved around the main character like Twisted is doing with Jo.

    • like Twisted is doing with Jo

      *Squints* Twisted is supposed to be about Danny, Lacey, and Jo. But yeah, it manages to focus on Jo more than the others.

      You know the show is represented in a pretend society where no one cares about race and what cultures they are tied to but focuses on the plot.

      To be perfectly honest, how many shows out there are written in a society where people care about race and culture? How many? Most shows are about white people with like one character of color that they don’t bother to develop. Just because Jeff SAYS he’s writing about a show where he’s not exploring race or sexual preference, doesn’t mean he’s the first to ignore them.

      And the problem with Jeff’s pov is that 1) It doesn’t reflect in his writing. Yeah, you’re accepted no matter your race or preference in Beacon Hills, but he’s WRITING mostly for Stiles…..the WHITE character. His one regular character Deaton is one stop away from Magical Negro town, and we’re at a juncture where a lot of Scott fans are legit worried that he’ll make the character White.

      Beacon Hills is a place where you’re accepted no matter your race or sexual preference. It’d be great if Jeff could become invested in characters no matter their race or sexual preference. He killed both Erica and Boyd and kept Isaac, he White guy, alive. He killed both Victoria and Kate, both women, but he’s revived White men Gerard and Peter.

      Jeff’s writing….actually doesn’t reflect the idyllic White people fantasy world where differences don’t matter (and so White, straight, cis-male people don’t have unfair advantages/privileges) he swears he’s creating.

  4. When Stiles got the panic attack I gave the hardest of side-eyes. I thought: but that’s Scott’s thing.

    And now that Scott’s white daddy is showing up out of the clear blue sky … It makes me scared for Melissa. She could die and Daddy Dearest could move right on in and Stiles could have angsty scene with him while Scott goes off screen to have feels about his mom dying and his dad being back …idk …

    • She could die and Daddy Dearest could move right on in and Stiles could have angsty scene with him while Scott goes off screen to have feels about his mom dying and his dad being back …idk …

      :(. What a horrible possibility.

    • Scott had a panic attack and Stiles talks him through it, talking about how he understands because he had panic attacks when his mom died. So while Scott’s had one canonical panic attack, Stiles is also canonically prone to them.

      Matthew del Negro is Latino so he may be white but his dad ain’t anglo.

      • I don’t trust these shows when it comes to stuff like this, re: the actor playing Scott’s dad being white Latino. I always think they’ll go with what’s easiest (which in this case is just making him white) and that’s because they usually do (because they’re lazy). We’ll see.

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