This episode was a gift, full of fun Stilinski-family tidbits in the throes of major drama going down. I just can’t help but feel the Ghost Riders are actually a small piece of the bigger picture of what is happening in Beacon Hills.
New teachers are never a good sign, especially those that use their lessons to give background to the weirdness going on in town. Mr. Douglas has already shown he’s won the hearts of nearly everyone in the class, but his behavior is anything but charming. This episode opens up mid-lesson, in which he is having a massive coughing fit. Whether it’s brought on by a legitimate cause, or an effect of the flashback he’s having, isn’t clear right away.
The flashback is a scene out of season five; he’s stuck in a large cylinder tube trying to break out as water enters his lungs. He succeeds and proceeds to reveal from his callused cocoon it’s Mr. Douglas, an Alpha wolf. In real life, he runs to the back of the classroom and desperately inhales helium through a breathing mask. The class seems concerned but only Liam goes to check up on him, unaware of the freak out going on.
Meanwhile, Lydia and Scott and trying to google exactly what a “Stiles” is, of course coming up with nothing, while Malia is in the principal’s office with Mrs. Martin taking a math exam. The simple pressure of the exam has Malia losing control and shifting back into her coyote form to hide. Lydia mentions this might be directly related to the loss of Stiles, which prompts the Sheriff to mention it’s a family nickname for the males in his family. While he didn’t use it, his father did. It isn’t explicitly said, but we’re seeing big signs that Stiles was Malia’s anchor. Maybe not as a lover, but as a friend who saw the good in her.
After this mention, the Sheriff opens up his home to Lydia, Malia, and Scott to show them little tidbits of his father. While his first name is Elias, he went by Stiles, but it doesn’t seem he is THEIR Stiles. Claudia is such an odd presence throughout this exchange; the Sheriff clearly has a relationship with the trio, but Claudia just seems…there. The only time she interjects is to stop any further questions of Elias, and Lydia from following a mysterious woman who speaks in a train that is moving through the house. Yes, in the train, just like the doctor from the previous episode.
At school, Hayden is taking the initiative to handle the oddities that are happening in the halls. Number one being a girl named Gwen looking for her sister, Phoebe. No one in the school knows who Gwen is talking about, and there is no trace of Phoebe even in school records. The exchange between Hayden and Gwen is interesting because of the friendship bracelet Gwen toys with, as it was once Phoebe. If a personal item is left behind, could a person remember someone taken? We saw it last episode with the boy taken.
If you thought seeing Claudia Stilinski alive was enough to shock you this season, having Chris Argent wake up Melissa McCall with morning coffee is on another level. For a good thirty seconds, I was convinced they were together, and while I’m not opposed, it threw me for a loop. No apparent romance here! Chris is just trying to bribe Melissa with helping him unravel another mystery. It seems innocent at first– examining a dead body is just another pastime in Beacon Hills after all. However, all signs are pointing to worst case scenario; a new supernatural baddie being in town.
At school, Malia and Scott are planning their visit to the nursing home Elias is at to question him about Stiles. Liam interrupts with the distressing news of Gwen: she saw a Ghost Rider and he needs Scott’s help to protect her. Now, I have yet to see a good Alpha-leader on this show, and Scott is proving no different. He brushes off Liam’s concern, giving him vague advice, before going off to do his own thing. It’s up to Mason to step in and offer the support Liam desperately needs.
Mason’s idea is to host the party happening that night at Scott’s house. Lined with mountain ash, it’s the perfect spot to keep the Ghost Riders out. Maybe not thought all the way, but it’s the only option left for them.
Malia, Lydia, and Scott are off to the nursing home, where they quickly learn he has dementia and is of little to no use to them. By the time the Sheriff shows up to break up the questioning, one thing the trio knows for sure is: this is not their Stiles. Furious, the Sheriff clears them out just as Elias falls into a rage. In one sentence the world seems to open up, “Noah, go back to your dead wife and loser son.”
NOAH! The Sheriff’s first name is NOAH! I’m going to have to get used to that; Elias seems to have retained more memories pre-Ghost Riders than we originally thought– does having dementia preserved it? While the Sheriff tries to shake it off, the words seemed to have bothered him.
All the while, the rager at the McCall house is going strong. At first, no Ghost Rider has shown up, and it allows the teens to relax. All except Cory, though, who is on edge the whole time– and with good reason. The storm brewing brings about the Ghost Rider for Gwen, and no one can see him at first until Cory gets involved. While hiding, invisible, he reached for the Ghost Rider and drags him into the vision of everyone at the party.
Let that sink in, everyone has now seen him. Even expressionless, you have to imagine what’s going on in the Ghost Rider’s head. He has to come back for all those people: oh great. His immediate concern is to get Gwen, and while the house clears out he almost succeeds by breaking through the mountain ash barrier– until Officer Parrish steps onto the scene. It isn’t the bullets that stop the Ghost Rider, however. It seems to search Parrish’s eyes for something before packing up and leaving. I thought Parrish might join them, being a hellhound and all, but it seems there is a respect level established? So many questions from one glance.
If that wasn’t stressful enough, Melissa and Chris’ investigation has revealed the Ghost Riders are not the only threat to Beacon Hills. There is a wolf crushing skulls and stealing pineal glands, also known as a third eye– or a soul. Even as it’s revealed that Mr. Douglas is the culprit, why he would be stealing souls is never fully explained.
When Scott returns home to find his house a victim of a party that was crashed by a Ghost Rider, he is not pleased. Especially after learning everyone at the party saw the Ghost Rider, something Liam didn’t seem to reflect on until Scott brought it up.
Scott is not living up to his leader status, focusing on locating Stiles rather than offering help to Liam who is clearly struggling to keep Beacon Hills safe on his own. The Sheriff’s late night visit has him opening up to Scott, providing a comfort only a father figure can offer. Their dialog reveals the Sheriff has been having dreams, that don’t seem like dreams at all, more like memories that haven’t happened. Memories of Claudia and him naming their first son before he was even real– strange talk for a couple that seemed to have never wanted kids.
Scott just has to put it together, Stiles is the Sheriff’s son, and he was taken away! The episode concludes with more questions than answers, and now two threats that seem to make graduation even more impossible. While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to refer to the Sheriff as Noah, we’re gathering more insight on the Stilinskis. All it does is make this present Claudia seem more and more like the odd man out.
All photos courtesy of MTV, thanks guys!