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A young boy runs through the woods and lands next to one of the ultrasonic transmitters that we saw back in episode 3. The boy is a werewolf and a dozen WEREWOLF HUNTERS are out in the woods tonight, hunting him.
The young boy collides with another kid, who recognises him as a Hale. The second boy is shot through the throat with an arrow, preventing any further conversation. Another arrow is fired, this time at the Hale boy. Another guy, a little older, appears and grabs the arrow before it can hit the Hale boy. IS THAT DUDEBRO? AKA YOUNG PETER HALE?
The WEREWOLF HUNTERS inspect the body of the dead boy. Chris Argent is among them, and so is his father Gerard. Gerard isn’t dripping black ooze from his facial orifices so this must be some time in the past. Maybe that means the Hale boy is a younger Derek Hale? Chris says that the dead boy had killed two WEREWOLF HUNTERS. He wants the others brought back alive.
The Hale boy and his saviour crouch in some kind of old cellar. Tree roots take up most of it. Torchlight from the WEREWOLF HUNTERS shines through the wooden hatch above them but no one enters.
Cora Hale’s voice cuts in. She says they were there for two days, waiting and hiding. It’s what they’re taught to do when WEREWOLF HUNTERS find them: hide and heal. Cora is standing in the loft, watching as rain begins to wash away the mark of the Alpha pack painted on the window.
Stiles asks if two days is standard or if they’re waiting for Derek to come back from an extended getaway. (From that comment, I’m going to go ahead and say that we were definitely watching young Derek Hale back there and that really was Dudebro/Young Peter Hale.) Cora doesn’t know why Stiles cares.
STILES: Why do I care? Let’s see. Because over the last few weeks, my best friend’s tried to kill himself, his boss nearly got ritually sacrificed, a girl that I’ve known since I was three was ritually sacrificed, Boyd was killed by Alphas—you want me to keep going? Because I can, all right? For, like, an hour.
Since Derek is the one everyone’s after, it seems like he should be the one trying to do something about it. Cora says that Derek wasn’t like this when she knew him.
Peter Hale walks down the stairs of the loft and says that Derek was actually a lot like Scott and most other teenagers: unbearably romantic, profoundly narcissistic, tolerable really only to other teenagers. He was changed by the same thing that changes a lot of young men: a girl.
Stiles finds it hard to believe that Derek is the way he is because of some teenage heartbreak. Peter reminds Stiles and Cora that before Derek became an Alpha, he had bright blue eyes. Stiles always thought wolf eye colour was some weird genetic thing.
PETER: If you want to know what changed Derek, you need to know what changed the colour of his eyes.
Allison visits Gerard and takes Scott with her, at Gerard’s request.
Gerard wants Scott to take away some of his pain. It’s the only way he’ll talk. Scott takes Gerard’s hand and takes away some of his pain. The black ooze stops dripping from Gerard’s face and Scott’s eyes turn bright yellow with the strain.
A metronome keeps time for a girl as she practises cello in the music classroom. The girl is interrupted by noises from outside and goes to find the problem. There’s a group of guys playing basketball in the hallway. One of them turns around. It’s young Derek Hale. We’re back in the past.
The girl tells them she’s trying to practise in the music room; basketball is played in the gym. Young Derek Hale is a little shit who thinks basketball practice takes place anywhere he has a basketball. But he makes the girl a deal: if she can get the basketball off him, he might stop playing in the hallway.
The girl tries but Derek is a young cocky werewolf and is showing off for his friends—there’s no way she’s getting that ball. She walks back into the music room and Derek’s friends walk off in the opposite direction. Derek goes in to the music room to apologise but the girl isn’t interested in apologies or any more interruptions.
Derek won’t leave until the girl reveals her name. The girl won’t tell Derek her name unless he can play one instrument in the music room. Derek looks at his choices carefully and returns with a triangle.
The girl tells him her name is Paige and asks him to leave so she can practise. Derek starts to introduce himself but Paige cuts him off. She knows who he is. Derek grins and leaves the music room. Paige watches him go with a slight smile.
In the present, Allison and Scott tell Gerard (who’s now leaking freely again) that a third doctor’s body was found after Scott rescued Deaton. That means three healer sacrifices. If they found a third body so soon, it seems almost like Deaton was expected to survive. Gerard suggests that Deaton is really the dark druid and he knew that Scott would find him.
SCOTT: He would never let anyone innocent die.
GERARD: Don’t be so sure. You’d be surprised how far some people would go to get rid of someone like Deucalion.
ALLISON: Or someone like you?
Gerard doesn’t go easily. Scott’s little trick with the mountain ash pills last season has made Gerard into a medical mystery: his cancer is now virtually undetectable but the doctors can’t figure out why Gerard keeps leaking black fluid out of his face.
Scott took away some of Gerard’s pain as part of their deal but Gerard can’t tell them how to beat Deucalion. He’s already tried and failed.
Allison says this is a complete waste of time and starts to leave with Scott. Gerard calls her back. He can tell her one thing: Deucalion may have lost his eyes but he’s not always blind.
In the loft, Stiles tries to use figure out how old Derek and Peter were in the story and how old they are now.
PETER: Not as young as we could have been, but not as old as you might think.
STILES: Okay, that was frustratingly vague. How old are you?
CORA: I’m 17.
STILES: See, that’s an answer. That’s how we answer people.
CORA: Well, 17 in how you’d measure in years.
Stiles decides to drop the age questions and get more of the story of Derek and the cello girl. Peter cuts through all the romance and relationship build-up and gets to the point where Derek and Paige were frantically groping in any place they could find themselves alone for five minutes. Their favourite dark corner was an abandoned distillery outside of Beacon Hills.
Peter knows all these details because back then he wasn’t just Derek’s friend; he was his best friend and closest confidante. Or so he says. The flashback shows us that Peter was actually spying on Derek and Paige while they were making out in the distillery. Perve.
Paige halts the make-out session to ask why Derek likes her. She thinks that he only liked her because she didn’t like him. Now that he knows Paige likes him, she’s wondering when Derek will stop being interested in her. Derek wants to know what happens if he never stops liking Paige.
As they move in to kiss again, Derek jerks back and looks around at the distillery. Something happened here and Derek just caught the scent of blood. He hears something in the distance and tells Paige they have to go. She protests, saying she didn’t hear anything, but Derek takes her by the hand and leads her out.
Outside the distillery, Peter hides to watch a pack of werewolves walk into the distillery. Ennis, Kali, and Deucalion are among them. Deucalion isn’t blind yet, which means that he hasn’t started killing off his own pack. So this must be a few packs of werewolves instead of just one.
Ennis makes a speech about how the WEREWOLF HUNTERS dragged a member of their pack into the distillery with an arrow in his throat (which means it must be the kid from the beginning of the episode), hung him, and cut him in half. Kali doesn’t see why she should care about a member of Ennis’s pack but another girl points out that WEREWOLF HUNTERS—especially the Argents—don’t discern packs.
Deucalion says that the Argents discern motives and wants to know why Ennis’s Beta was killed. Marco, one of Deucalion’s Betas, steps forward to say that Ennis’s Beta killed one of the WEREWOLF HUNTERS. Ennis maintains that it was an accident.
Gerard is telling this story as well, to Allison and Scott (no sign of him spying in the flashback, though, so from his POV this might be all hearsay). He confirms that this happened before the Alphas formed their ‘little all-star team’ and not all the packs lived in Beacon Hills at the time. There was, though, an exceptionally powerful Alpha who did live in Beacon Hills. She had a capacity to shape shift that was rare even among werewolves. That made her a leader—the kind of person they would go to for advice and guidance.
A wolf arrives at the distillery—a proper wolf with the red eyes of an Alpha. The wolf shifts into a naked woman. Someone steps forward to give her a blanket dress thing. The woman is Talia Hale, Derek’s mother.
Talia says that it was the WEREWOLF HUNTERS’ right to kill a Beta for attacking one of their own. Werewolves aren’t the only ones who adhere to thousand-year-old rituals.
This isn’t the answer that Ennis wanted. He walks to a wall and puts his hand against it.
DEUCALION: Ennis, don’t. Don’t make us part of a historical cliché. With two such powers, it never stops at an eye for an eye. A skirmish becomes a war, murder becomes a massacre and we end up no better than our enemies.
Ennis ignores Deucalion’s advice and uses his claws to etch a spiral into the distillery wall.
In the loft, Peter draws the same spiral in the condensation on the window, reminding us that it’s the werewolf mark for a vendetta. Cora tells Stiles that it’s not just revenge; losing a member of your pack isn’t like losing a family member. It’s like losing a limb.
The hospital wouldn’t let Ennis see the body. Sheriff Stilinski was called to the hospital and finds Ennis threatening the hospital staff. He says that the boy’s body—both halves—belongs to him. Sheriff tells Ennis to step back, even going so far as to place a hand against Ennis’s chest. Ennis looks furious but does as requested.
At this point in time, Sheriff was just a deputy and had to do what he was told. Right now, he’s being told that there’s a boy who was shot in the throat with an arrow and literally cut in half so it’s a homicide investigation. And no matter how close Ennis is to this kid, he’s not related. Ennis argues that the boy was his family.
Cora doesn’t see what this has to do with Derek. According to Peter, it has everything to do with Derek. It’s never a single moment but a confluence of events. Peter saw profound loss in Ennis’s situation. Derek saw it as an opportunity to always be with Paige.
In class, young Derek uses his werewolf hearing to listens as Paige practises in the music room. He appears at the door and Paige pauses to ask what he’s staring at. Derek says he’s just listening but asks if he’s distracting her.
PAIGE: No. I’ve got laser-like focus.
DEREK: You sure about that?
Paige goes back to practising and Derek moves closer, running a hand up Paige’s arm and pressing his lips to her ear.
Paige’s laser-like focus is broken. She tells Derek she hates him but he knows better, telling her that she loves him. Paige eventually nods and they kiss.
Peter says that Derek had a constant obsessive fear. Again, the flashback says that Peter is lying scum. He approaches Derek at lunch, claiming to be looking out for Derek. Derek says he could get Peter banned from school grounds but Peter doesn’t think anyone would ban him because he’s too good looking.
Peter nods to Paige, who’s sitting at another table, and asks why she eats alone. Derek says Paige has a few friends but she prefers to study during lunch and she doesn’t seem to like Derek’s friends. Peter agrees, saying that Derek’s friends are a bunch of hormonal halfwits. Paige, on the other hand, is perfect for Derek. Derek gets up to leave.
PETER: It would worry me too, though. I’d probably be thinking about it all the time.
DEREK: Thinking about what?
PETER: Her finding out. You’ve thought that through, right? You know it always happens. One minute you’re in this blissful teen romance and next she sees fangs, glowing eyes, claws.
Derek’s face indicates that he hasn’t thought this through at all and it hasn’t been, as Peter narrated, a constant fear. He says that Paige doesn’t have to find out. Peter tells him that they always do and there’s really only one way to make sure they’ll always be together: by turning her.
In the loft, Peter says that he kept telling Derek not to turn Paige but Derek became more convinced with every day.
PETER: I bet he even blames me. He’s probably convinced himself the whole thing was my idea.
Because it WAS, you lying piece of garbage. In the flashback, Peter approaches Derek in the locker room, saying that he has the perfect idea. Derek tells him to go away but Peter ignores him. He tells Derek about all the packs that are in Beacon Hills at the moment. There are more Alphas in one place than Peter’s ever seen. Since Derek’s mother would never agree to turn Paige and the packs won’t be here much longer, now is the best time to approach one of the Alphas.
PETER: One little bite and she never gets sick again. She stays younger, more beautiful. Think how she’ll be able to protect herself. Derek, the bite is a gift.
Chris and Gerard investigate the root cellar where Peter and Derek hid at the start of the episode. It’s daylight, and much easier to see now. There’s a mark painted on the tree. Chris identifies it as a Celtic fivefold knot (a druid symbol) and says the blood on the tree is sacrificial. This is a Nemeton.
CHRIS: It’s a sacred meeting place. Ancient Celtic druids would usually choose a large older tree in a grove to represent the centre of the world. There was a belief that cutting or harming the tree in any way would cause serious problems for the surrounding villages.
Problems like death and destruction.
Allison asks Gerard how her father knew about Celtic symbols and druids. Gerard replies with ‘know thy enemy’. The older werewolves had a relationship with the druids. They called them emissaries, which is what Deaton is. Gerard gets out of his wheelchair and grabs an old book from his bedside table.
He tells Scott and Allison the myth of Lycaon (the origin for the word lycanthropy). According to myth, some Greek citizens believed they owed their lives more to Prometheus than to the gods of Olympus. Some followers even took names to honour the Titans instead of the gods, like Deucalion, son of Prometheus.
Lycaon didn’t just refuse to honour the gods; he challenged them. He invited Zeus to a banquet and then tried to serve him the flesh of a human being. Angered, Zeus blew the place apart with lightning bolts and then punished Lycaon and his sons by turning them into wolves.
This all matches up well enough with actual Greek mythology. Now we move into Teen Wolf mythology terrain. Lycaon sought out the druids to help turn him human again. The belief was that the ancient druids knew how to shape shift. They couldn’t make Lycaon and his sons human again but they taught them how to shift back and forth. So the druids became important advisers to the packs.
Cora fills Stiles in more about the emissaries, saying that sometimes they’re kept secret even in the pack. Sometimes only the Alpha knows who the pack’s emissary is. Cora and Derek had no idea about Deaton or his sister, Ms Morrell. Stiles had no idea that Ms Morrell is the emissary for the Alpha pack.
STILES: Our guidance counsellor? Why the hell don’t you people tell me any of this stuff, huh? I shared some really intimate details with her.
CORA: And did she give you good advice?
STILES: Actually, yeah.
That’s what emissaries do. It’s what Deaton used to do for Talia Hale. In the flashback, he advises Talia and Deucalion that while he admires their willingness to extend an olive branch to the WEREWOLF HUNTERS, it might not be welcomed.
Talia doesn’t think Gerard is the one to accept the olive branch and Deaton agrees, reminding them of the WEREWOLF HUNTERS’ matriarchal leadership.
TALIA: Actually, I was speaking about the fact that he’s a complete psychopath. I mean, the man cuts people in half with a broadsword.
Deucalion doesn’t understand why Talia and Deaton have so little faith in people. He thinks that Gerard would be worried about the deaths on his own side and would be willing to accept a truce. Deaton tells the story of the scorpion and the frog. A frog carries a scorpion across a river on the promise that the scorpion won’t sting him because they would both drown. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog, and they both start to sink. The scorpion says it’s just in his nature. The point is, don’t underestimate Gerard’s nature.
Talia advises Deucalion to meet Gerard on neutral ground and not to meet him alone.
It’s night at the Beacon Hills High School. Paige looks at a piece of paper in her hand, which I assume is a note from Derek, since she hears a noise and calls out for him. But it’s not Derek. It’s Ennis, wolfed out and ready to bite.
Paige drops the piece of paper and runs in slow-mo down the hall. Ennis chases her. Derek sits in the locker room and slowly bounces his basketball, looking worried.
Peter reminds Cora and Stiles that Ennis needed a new member for his pack and Paige was young and strong. Doing a favour for Derek meant Ennis would be in good with Talia.
Stiles realises that Derek doesn’t remember it was Ennis. In the flashback, Derek can hear Paige’s frightened cries. He drops his basketball and goes to find her. Peter is hiding in the hallway, watching as Paige tries to crawl away from Ennis.
Apparently thinking better of his decision, Derek runs at Ennis. Ennis throws him off and makes him look at Paige. As she crawls away, Derek sees blood smeared on the floor. She’s already been bitten.
Ennis lets go of Derek and walks away. Peter stays hidden around the corner and offers no help.
Gerard tells Allison and Scott that he wasn’t surprised when Deaton came to arrange a meeting with Deucalion. He quotes William Blake: ‘Any sinister person who means to be your enemy always starts by trying to become your friend.’
SCOTT: How do you know he wasn’t going there to make peace?
GERARD: Because I’m not an idiot.
Gerard brings up the scorpion story again, only this time the frog is replaced with a turtle. Gerard says he knows a werewolf’s nature and expected them to be planning a trap.
Gerard meets Deucalion in the distillery and gives a monologue about the process of distillation. It’s the separating of two different substances by pushing them into their different volatile states. Deucalion says he’s hoping to avoid a volatile state. Gerard disappoints him by turning a valve and releasing white gas into the room. Humans and werewolves alike are affected by it. Gerard injects himself with something. I’m not sure what but it seems to make him immune to the effects of the gas.
Gerard has told the story to Allison and Scott as if he were the victim and not the perpetrator of the ambush. In the flashback, Gerard pulls out a spiked mace and starts killing his own WEREWOLF HUNTERS.
GERARD: They wanted peace too. Look what you did to them.
Cora and Stiles are more concerned with whether or not Paige was turned. Peter says she should have—the bite takes most of the time.
STILES: When you offered it to me, you said ‘if it doesn’t kill you’.
In the flashback, Peter finds Derek in the root cellar, cradling Paige. They both know she’s dying but don’t want to say it. It doesn’t matter that Paige is young and strong. Some people just aren’t made for this. Paige struggles desperately to survive.
Deucalion manages to crawl out of the distillery and Gerard follows him.
Deucalion begs him not to do this, saying that he had a vision of peace. Gerard tells him he was a little short-sighted. He pulls out two arrows—the ones with the explosive tips like Allison has used before—and plunges them into Deucalion’s eyes, blinding him.
In the root cellar, Derek tries to take away some of Paige’s pain. She tells Derek that she knew about him.
PAIGE: I’ve seen things in this town before—things no one really could explain. And there’s the way that you talk. How you say things like how you’d catch a scent. And I know you can hear things—things that no one else can hear. I knew.
DEREK: And you still liked me?
PAIGE: I loved you.
She cries out in pain and Derek tries to take more of it away from her. Paige knows that she’s going to die. She can’t take this anymore and pleads for Derek to stop it. They cling to each other and Derek’s eyes turn yellow as he tries to break her neck as gently as possible. He whispers apologies that Paige can’t hear.
Peter took the body from Derek’s arms to a place in the woods where he knew it would be found, setting it up to look like another Beacon Hills animal attack. As for Derek, taking an innocent life takes something from you as well. It darkens a bit of your soul and dims the once brilliant golden yellow eyes to a cold steel blue like Peter’s.
In the animal clinic, Deaton unwraps the bandages around Deucalion’s eyes. He says the eyes will heal physically but Deucalion’s sight is gone.
Deucalion roars in rage and tells everyone to leave him. Talia and Deaton leave the room but Marco stays. He rushes at Deucalion and tries to kill him. Deucalion staggers back. When his eyes glow with Alpha red, he can see Marco clearly. He tears him apart in the animal clinic.
Scott and Allison, who haven’t been around when Deucalion has previously hinted at his ability to see as a wolf, think they could use this against him. They go to leave and Gerard reaches out for Scott again, wanting more relief for the pain. Scott agrees and takes only a little. Gerard paints himself as a victim again when he wonders if he should have just asked for the bite instead of trying to get it by deception.
Scott doesn’t believe it. While Gerard told his story, Scott was listening to his heartbeat. It never went up and it never went down. It was steady the whole time.
GERARD: Because I was telling the truth.
SCOTT: Or because you’re a really good liar. If you lied and it gets people hurt, I’ll be back to take away more than your pain.
In the loft, Cora wants to know why Stiles has a look that makes her want to punch him. Stiles admits that he doesn’t believe Peter’s story. He compares it to Heart of Darkness, saying that Peter is an unreliable narrator and he doesn’t think they got the whole story. If he has to, Stiles will ask Derek for the truth about Paige.
Talia Hale walks into the root cellar to find Derek on the floor, head in his hands. He says he did something terrible and Talia says that she knows. Talia tilts Derek’s head up but he keeps his eyes closed, saying that they’re different.
TALIA: Different but still beautiful, just like the rest of you.
Derek opens his eyes. For the first time, they’re blue.
As an adult, Derek visits the distillery to study the spiral that Ennis carved into the wall years ago. A lone cello plays before spiralling into frenzied orchestration.
END OF EPISODE