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We’ve got a SEPIA FLASHBACK to 1943. Two soldiers jump out of their truck. One keeps trying to tell riddles. The other one seems to be done with this riddle shit and tells his friend that none of this is funny. They open the back of the truck and start hauling bodies out of it, carrying them down a hill to an ever-growing pile.
They grab two gas cans from the truck as the riddle enthusiast keeps going, asking what has a neck but no head (a bottle). Back down the hill, one of the bodies stands up. It’s covered in bandages and grinning, showing silver teeth—this is the Nogitsune.
One of the soldiers fires at the Nogitsune but bullets don’t even slow it down. The Nogitsune grabs the gun and twists it, firing into the soldier’s stomach and killing him. The other soldier—the riddle enthusiast—tries to climb into the truck so he can drive away. The Nogitsune grabs him.
NOGITSUNE: What has a neck but no head?
He rips the soldier’s head off and roars.
In present day, Mr Yukimura is in his empty History classroom, writing notes on the board. A fly lands on his desk. Mr Yukimura drops a heavy book on the fly, killing it.
Void Stiles walks in, praising Mr Yukimura for showing dedication by coming in to school on a Saturday. (Really, the dedication is in the fact that he’s wearing a dress shirt and tie when he could’ve worn more casual clothes if no students were around.)
Void Stiles wants to know where Mama Yukimura’s kitsune tail thingies are but Mr Yukimura plays dumb.
VOID STILES: Her little knives. The daggers. I know what they are: physical representation of her tails—however the hell that works.
He checks out Mr Yukimura’s bookshelves, dropping books on the floor. He seems to know that the tails are hidden in a book but isn’t sure which one. Mr Yukimura politely offers to direct Void Stiles to the library section on Japanese myth.
Void Stiles starts moving closer to Mr Yukimura as he speaks. The older the tail, the stronger the Oni and Void Stiles knows there’s one tail left—the strongest. Mr Yukimura still plays dumb.
Void Stiles lifts up the textbook on Mr Yukimura’s desk, releasing the fly that I thought was dead. The fly buzzes up and right into Mr Yukimura’s mouth. He sinks to the ground, choking.
Scott and Kira look at a faded black and white photograph from 1943. The photograph shows a soldier and a woman that looks exactly like Kira. From the date, it has to be Kira’s grandmother.
Scott lets us in on how he got the photograph. Malia’s trip out of Eichen House (temporary or permanent, I’m still not sure) was to bring Scott the photograph and a sword that she and Stiles found with the Nogitsune’s skeleton. It sounds like this Nogitsune stuff all comes back to Kira’s family—her grandmother in the picture, her mother setting Oni on people.
Kira’s phone buzzes. Whatever the message says, it sends Kira and Scott running to the school, Kira still holding the Nogitsune’s sword. They find Mr and Mama Yukimura in the History classroom. Void Stiles is gone but Mr Yukimura is still choking. Mama Yukimura asks if Kira brought it. Kira hands her a small glass bottle.
KIRA: Are you going to tell me what it is?
MAMA YUKIMURA: Reishi.
KIRA: You are not seriously giving Dad magic mushrooms.
Yes, she is. Once Mr Yukimura has the reishi in his mouth, he’s able to cough up some black substance into a handkerchief.
Mama Yukimura tells Scott that the Nogitsune did this because he wanted the last Kaiken—her kitsune tail dagger thingie. But she’s kept it near her ever since Stiles disappeared.
Kira wants her mother to tell them everything. Scott pulls out the photograph and shows it to Mama Yukimura. Kira asks if it’s her grandmother in the picture.
MAMA YUKIMURA: No. It’s me.
We fade back into the SEPIA FLASHBACK. The two soldiers from before are alive and well. The blonde one—the one who hated riddles—is called Hayes. He’s playing with a baseball while the riddle enthusiast (Merrick) unloads goods from a truck.
Another soldier, who’s doing inventory, notices that a few things are missing. We see a woman’s hands quickly stealing food and supplies, and then the baseball that Hayes was playing with. The woman is Kira. Well, Young Mama Yukimura, I guess. She smiles.
Back in the present day, Scott points out that if Mama Yukimura is the one in the picture, she’d have to be 90 years old. Mama Yukimura says she’s closer to 900.
KIRA: Okay. Sure. Why not? Dad, how old are you?
MR YUKIMURA: 43. But I’ve been told I look mid-thirties.
Kira hands her mother the Nogitsune’s sword. She unsheathes it and drops pieces onto Mr Yukimura’s desk. The blade was shattered the last time it was used back in 1943 against a Nogitsune.
Scott realises that all this has happened before. Mama Yukimura tells him it started in an internment camp during World War II in Oak Creek. Scott calls out Mr Yukimura, who told Allison and Isaac a while back that there was no such internment camp. Turns out Mr Yukimura lied, knowing that Allison’s family has a history of violence (well, a history of being WEREWOLF HUNTERS, anyway). There was a camp called Oak Creek but all the records were erased.
When Mr Yukimura was a grad student, his passion project/obsession was trying to dig up the truth on Oak Creek. That’s how he met Mama Yukimura. He pulls out a notebook filled with old photos, including one of a badly burned man lying in a hospital bed.
KIRA: So where did the Nogitsune come from?
MAMA YUKIMURA: Isn’t it obvious yet? It came from me.
Dude, she only just found out that you’re 900 years old. Give her a break.
SEPIA FLASHBACK. The entrance to the Oak Creek internment camp looks a hell of a lot like the entrance to Eichen House. Maybe they’re connected in some way?
ANYWAY, inside one of the barracks at Oak Creek, a woman is handing out the apples that Young Mama Yukimura stole. The woman warns everyone to keep their voices down; if the guards hear them, they’ll take away the stolen goods.
Young Mama Yukimura gives the stolen baseball to a kid named Michio, and is chastised by the woman who was distributing apples.
Mama Yukimura (whose name, we find out, is Noshiko), sits down with a woman called Satomi, saying she can feel her glaring. Satomi is sitting in front of some kind of board game I don’t recognise.
Satomi tells Noshiko that she takes too frequently and she takes too much. Noshiko hands Satmoi a bottle of asprin to help with her monthly migraines. Satomi hands back the asprin, saying she prefers to suffer.
SATOMI: I know what you think of me, Noshiko. You think I am weak because I follow the rules. You think rules are for the obedience of fools, and cowards. The young fox always knows the rules so she can break them. The older, wiser animal learns the exceptions to the rules.
The woman who was handing out apples tries to break up their argument, warning them to stay quiet. Well, that all goes to crap when Michio accidentally throws the baseball through a window, shattering the glass. The guards hear and everyone immediately starts hiding their stolen goods under mattresses, pillows, and beds.
Hayes, Merrick, and the other unnamed soldier enter, holding the baseball. They ask if anyone knows about the stolen goods from the truck. Merrick starts ‘frisking’ the woman who was handing out apples, saying he’s just doing his patriotic duty.
The unnamed soldier calls Merrick off, telling them that there’ll be an inspection in the morning and they don’t want to find anything that shouldn’t be here. Hayes protests, saying they should look now, but the soldier is unswayed. He reminds them that this is a relocation centre, not a prison. Hayes and Merrick leave. The soldier shares a glance with Noshiko and turns to leave. He sees Michio in the corner and smiles, tossing the baseball back to him.
Satomi places another piece on her board, telling Noshiko that you reap what you sow.
Mama Yukimura is trying to reassemble the sword and wants Kira’s help. This is something that needs to be done in the daylight. Kira refuses to help until Mama Yukimura tells them everything. Mama Yukimura looks at Scott, still reluctant.
MAMA YUKIMURA: Wolves and foxes tend not to get along. And not just in fables and stories.
MR YUKIMURA: But allies—however unlikely—should be welcomed. Especially in times of war.
Mama Yukimura slams another piece of the sword on the table, not happy at being outvoted.
Chris and Derek are finally being released from prison. Parrish is handing back their possessions but says that Chris can’t have his Taser/lightsaber/cattle prod thing back because it’s way above the legal voltage limit.
CHRIS: I only use it for hunting.
DEPUTY PARRISH: Yeah, well, I’m pretty sure you could use it to jumpstart a 747.
Sheriff arrives. He’s the one responsible for getting the charges against Chris and Derek dropped. He tells Parrish that he’ll take care of the rest.
DEPUTY PARRISH: Sheriff, I’m not kidding. This thing’s a few watts from being a lightsaber.
WHAT DID I TELL YOU?
Sheriff takes Chris and Derek into his office. Sheriff was away last episode, consulting a specialist in LA about Stiles’s MRI and potential frontotemporal dementia. The specialist said what every doctor says when they want to avoid a lawsuit: ‘We can’t say for sure.’
But Sheriff spoke with Mama McCall and got copies of both his wife’s and son’s MRIs. He knew they were similar but the MRIs are identical. It’s not even remotely possible, which means the Nogitsune somehow made sure that Stiles’s MRI would be the same as Claudia Stilinski’s.
SHERIFF: When I was in the army, an officer told me, ‘If you want to defeat your enemy, you don’t take away their courage. You take away their hope.’
Sheriff doesn’t give up hope easily but Stiles might. If he thinks that he has his mother’s disease then they might not just be fighting to get back Stiles’s body: they might also be fighting to get back his mind. Void Stiles has left people severely injured or severely dead and that’s why Sheriff needs Chris and Derek’s help and experience.
SHERIFF: I need you to help me stop him.
CHRIS: And by ‘stop him’, you mean ‘trap him’.
Sheriff nods. He hands back Chris’s lightsaber/Taser/cattle prod.
Back in the 1943 SEPIA FLASHBACK, Noshiko grabs the unnamed soldier, yanking him into a dark corridor for a kiss.
NOSHIKO: Why do I like you when you’re acting tough?
SOLDIER: Maybe because you want me to be a fighter.
NOSHIKO: No. I like my handsome medic.
The Handsome Medic says Noshiko might need to ease up on stealing supplies, especially medicine. People are starting to notice. The Handsome Medic says something in Japanese and Noshiko recognises it as a proverb: the stake that sticks out gets hammered down. The soldiers will come and confiscate everything, then punish everyone and get them to turn in Noshiko. She promises to bring back some of the asprin if he’s so worried.
The Handsome Medic pulls out a bar of chocolate and holds it out of Noshiko’s reach. She frowns at him. She likes it when he’s tough, but she likes chocolate more. Noshiko grabs the bar but doesn’t open it, instead leaning in for a passionate kiss.
Kira tells her mum that she doesn’t want to hear her ‘Casablanca story’; they want to know how to save Stiles. Mama Yukimura says that she’s trying to tell them but Scott corrects her, saying she’s trying to stall. When the sun sets, the Oni are going to go after the Nogitsune again and no one knows for sure whether Stiles is gone for good. He asks if Mama Yukimura can call the Oni off.
MAMA YUKIMURA: Stiles may be your best friend, he might be like a brother to you but he is Nogitsune now. He is Void.
SCOTT: Can you call them off?
MAMA YUKIMURA: When you hear the rest of the story, you won’t want me to.
There’s a brief SEPIA FLASHBACK OF Noshiko, face smeared with blood, facing off against the Nogitsune with her sword.
At the Argent apartment, Allison has collected all of their nonlethal equipment to help track down Stiles. Chris, Derek, and Sheriff join her in the study and start packing up the equipment. Hopefully Derek can pick up Stiles’s scent at Eichen House. It should be easy, especially if Stiles went through something stressful there.
Sheriff questions whether they should all be going to the same place. Stiles has also been showing up at the school and the hospital.
DEREK: Hold on. We did this already. He disappeared, we started looking for him, then walked right into a trap at the hospital.
He’s getting them to repeat the same moves so they have to do something different this time. Chris realises that they’re all trying to outfox the fox. Sheriff says he’ll understand if anyone wants to back out. Derek refuses to be the first wolf to run from a fox. Chris seems quite pleased to be carrying a lightsaber so he’s still in.
Allison, who’s living up the matriarchal leadership role of the Argent family, tells Derek and Chris to go check Eichen House. Allison and Sheriff will check the hospital and they can all meet up at the high school.
Sheriff and Allison leave and Derek sees Chris grab a few guns, making sure he has a few lethal options. Chris says he likes to prepare for the worst.
We finally have a name for the Handsome Medic. His name is Rhys. We’re back in SEPIA FLASHBACK as Mama Yukimura tells how she and Rhys would meet in secret. Rhys was being transferred to North Africa and she was teaching him some French. They’re making out in a parked military vehicle when they hear a noise. It’s Merrick and Hayes, whispering with the camp doctor. The doctor hands them some money but it’s not clear why.
Mama Yukimura is holding too tightly to a piece of the sword, making her hand bleed. Mr Yukimura hands her a handkerchief to wipe away the blood. The wound is already healed. It’s a kitsune talent—something that Kira will learn.
MAMA YUKIMURA: You should’ve noticed by now that you never get sick. Ever. You’ll never experience something as simple as a common cold, something as bad as the flu or something like pneumonia.
In SEPIA FLASHBACK, there’s a pneumonia outbreak at Oak Creek. Even Michio, the young boy, is struck down by it and the woman who was handing out apples in the barracks is starting to cough.
Rhys approaches Noshiko, saying that they’re out of M&B Sulphapyridine. Noshiko tells him she saw three boxes on the truck. She may have taken a bunch of things from the truck but she never touched the M&B and Rhys’s records indicate they only received one box. They realise that the camp doctor is using Merrick and Hayes to sell medicine on the black market.
Michio dies, dropping the baseball onto the floor. His father is completely distraught.
The woman who was distributing apples (damn, give me a name for her, guys) says they should go to camp administration and tell them what’s been happening. The administration will have to listen.
MICHIO’S FATHER: I’m sure they will. They’ll nod their heads with their condescending smiles. They’ll say, ‘A new shipment’s on its way. Any day now.’ But today—today, my son is dead.
The woman starts to cough. She gon’ die.
Satomi calls out her opinion: they won’t even get a condescending smile; the administration won’t listen to them. Why should they? Maybe because Michio’s father has what looks like a crude Molotov cocktail.
Noshiko, by telling people about Merrick and Hayes selling the medicine, had incited a riot. The inhabitants of the internment camp surround a car carrying Merrick, Hayes, and the camp doctor. The doctor threatens to turn in Merrick and Hayes if they don’t protect him.
Noshiko yells for them to stop but their anger is uncontrollable—a living, breathing thing. Rhys races towards the car, trying to get Merrick and Hayes out safely. Michio’s father lights the Molotov cocktail but pauses when he sees Rhys standing in the fray.
Merrick gets out of the car, brandishing his gun. The crowd falls back, suddenly quiet. Satomi approaches Merrick and he pistol-whips her, infuriating the crowd once more. Satomi falls to the ground, her eyes glowing gold. Noshiko sees her eyes and realises why Satomi was always trying to keep so calm, why she had migraines once a month: she was bitten by a werewolf.
Satomi loses control and seizes Michio’s father’s Molotov cocktail, throwing it at the car. It hits Rhys, engulfing him in flames. Both Rhys and Noshiko scream.
Sheriff and Allison get in the hospital elevator together. Sheriff praises the kids’ ability to stay strong and fearless and keep their grades up while dealing with this stuff all the time. Allison confesses she’s failing Econ. Sheriff says he’ll talk to Coach about it.
Allison starts to cry and Sheriff pulls the emergency stop on the elevator. She says she’s not fearless—she’s always terrified and she doesn’t know what she’s doing.
ALLISON: I don’t know if Isaac is dying right now. I don’t know if I made a mistake with Scott. I don’t know what my dad is thinking, I don’t know if we should trust Derek, I don’t know, I don’t know—I don’t know anything.
Sheriff hugs her and tells Allison that she sounds just like a cop.
He tells Allison she’ll be okay and goes to start the elevator again when he gets an alert on his phone that tells him someone’s breaking into his house. After Stiles started sleepwalking, Sheriff had some security precautions put in like motion sensors and cameras. The camera in Stiles’s room shows Void Stiles sitting on the bed, waving at the camera.
Back in SEPIA FLASHBACK, The guards start firing on the crowd and, among many others, Noshiko is hit.
In the History classroom, Kira is finally helping her mother line up the pieces of the broken sword. Mama Yukimura says that the gunfire nearly killed her. She fought every one of them but her heartbeat was so weak and slow that it appeared as though she were dead.
Even then, she was better off than Rhys. His whole body was burnt to a crisp and his screams could be heard throughout Eichen House, echoing through every room and every hallway.
MAMA YUKIMURA: He died in agony. The doctor, it seems, also sold the morphine.
So I guess Oak Creek is where Eichen House is. Eichen House must have been the hospital for the internment camp.
Merrick and Hayes were tasked with getting rid of all the bodies from the riot—both American and Japanese-American, including Noshiko. They were transferring the camp doctor out as well, stationing him somewhere else. They were covering up the whole incident and the doctor, Merrick, Hayes, and all the guards were going to get away with murdering the Japanese-Americans.
Noshiko wakes up in the truck, piled in with the other dead bodies. By chance, she has been laid next to Rys, who was covered in bandages. She reaches out and takes his hand, remembering all their stolen moments back at the camp. Noshiko opens her glowing eyes.
Mama Yukimura wanted the soldiers and the administration of the camp to be punished for their crime but she was going to lose her chance; they were going to burn her with the other bodies. Still healing and unable to move or fight back, Noshiko made a terrible decision to seek justice. She called out to her ancestors, asking to be possessed by a powerful Nogitsune—one that feeds off chaos, strife, and pain—so she could be used as a weapon.
MAMA YUKIMURA: But calling on a trickster spirit is a dangerous thing. They can have a very dark sense of humour. Because while the Nogitsune did come to possess someone, it wasn’t me.
The Nogitsune possessed Rhys’s body and that’s how we find ourselves watching the opening scene again. Only this time it’s from Noshiko’s point of view. She manages to roll over on the pile of bodies so she can see the Nogitsune kill Merrick and Hayes. She calls out for Rhys to stop but it’s too late. The Nogitsune gets in the car and drives away, leaving Noshiko lying among the dead bodies.
The Nogitsune brings chaos, strife, and pain to Oak Creek. The Japanese-Americans try to escape and find themselves trapped in the basements of what looks like it might be Eichen House? Yep, that’s Eichen House. Once recovered, Noshiko runs to Eichen House and finds both medical staff and patients dead.
She retrieves her sword from beneath her bed in the barracks and takes on the Nogitsune in the basement of Eichen House.
Noshiko almost looks finished until Satomi appears, in wolf mode. She stabs the Nogitsune in the back, distracting him long enough for Noshiko to stab him.
Her sword, once removed, shatters. But the Nogitsune seems to be finished.
He falls to the ground and, as Noshiko kneels next to him, a single fly buzzes out of his mouth. Noshiko catches the fly in her hand.
Kira and Mama Yukimura have finished piecing the sword together but it’s still broken. Apparently they need a bolt of lightning to fix it properly. Mama Yukimura can’t use a bolt of lightning—she’s not a Thunder Kitsune. But apparently Kira is.
MAMA YUKIMURA: Do you trust me?
KIRA: I just found out you’re 900 years old. I don’t think I’m ever going to trust you again.
MAMA YUKIMURA: Trust me on this.
YOU GO, KIRA. That is a sane and perfectly justified reaction to that and I applaud you.
Mama Yukimura guides Kira’s hand over the katana. Foxfire leaps from Kira’s hand and makes the katana whole again.
Sheriff, Allison, Chris, and Derek gather in Stiles’s bedroom. The chessboard has been laid out again but the pieces have been labelled slightly differently from the last time when Stiles tried to explain the supernaturals of Beacon Hills to his dad.
Allison wonders if it’s a message from Stiles. Chris notices that a pawn labelled as Isaac is off the board and out of play. Derek is labelled as the black king, which Sheriff suggests is because he’s heavily guarded. However, the black king is also one move from being in checkmate.
This isn’t a message from Stiles—it’s a threat from the Nogitsune. He’s trying to tell them that he’s at Derek’s loft and he wants them to come to him. Night’s falling and this couldn’t sound any more like a trap. Sheriff points out that their enemy lacks motive: the Nogitsune isn’t a killer—it’s a trickster. Killing is just a by-product. The Nogitsune doesn’t want to kill them. It wants a joke and they need to come up with a new punchline. Sheriff has something in mind.
Kira looks psyched that one of her kitsune powers is being a magic blacksmith. That is, until Mama Yukimura hands Kira the katana and tells her that it’s hers.
KIRA: What if I don’t want it?
MAMA YUKIMURA: You need it.
She tosses the katana and Kira catches it easily, looking surprised.
MAMA YUKIMURA: You see? It gives you balance. My power is yours now, Kira. If the Oni can’t stop Stiles, you have to. The same as I did. And maybe seek out a wolf to help you.
Scott protests that Mama Yukimura hasn’t really told them anything. She says that if the only way to save Stiles is to kill him. That’s the only way. Mr Yukimura reluctantly agrees.
MR YUKIMURA: Sometimes history does repeat itself, Scott.
SCOTT: Only if you don’t learn.
MR YUKIMURA: But sometimes even then fate conspires against you.
Scott receives a text from Allison that simply says, Derek’s loft. Scott leaves, determined to find a way to save Stiles. Kira follows and Mama Yukimura hands her the katana sheath. Kira sheathes her katana and walks out without another word.
Mama Yukimura pulls out her last kitsune tail dagger thingie, saying that she’ll take it somewhere safe.
MR YUKIMURA: That’s not what I’m worried about. History has not done well with making children into killers.
MAMA YUKIMURA: These children played their part in it long before we came back to Beacon Hills.
Back in SEPIA FLASHBACK, Noshiko runs through the forest, carrying the Nogitsune fly in a glass jar. She buries the jar deep within the roots of the Nemeton which, back in the 1940s, was still a towering tree. It was the sacrifice made by Scott, Stiles, and Allison that brought its power back and let the Nogitsune out of its cage.
Sheriff opens the door to Derek’s loft and finds Stiles standing there in the afternoon sunlight. He turns around.
STILES: Hi, Dad.
END OF EPISODE