Peter might have the weirdest paternal instincts in the world. After Stiles accidentally gives Kate the opportunity to swoop in on her favorite teenager, Scott decides to bring Peter into this equation, either because he’s looking to bring a dramatic, occasionally teetering on British cadence into his everyday speaking habits, or because Peter might be the only guy in the world who can get on Kate's level, re: manipulating Derek. Malia comes along to help Scott out against “Satan in a V-neck." (Can we even call those V-necks anymore? Peter is basically wearing a cotton version of J.Lo’s dress at the 2000 Grammys at all times.) Malia doesn’t realize that she’s meeting her potential papa, but that’s probably because he’s creeping the crap out of her, talking about her beautiful eyes.
And Derek doesn’t realize that he’s being manipulated to divulge Hale family secrets to Kate for the second time in his life. At least this time, his family can’t die in a grisly fire set by his creepy old girlfriend all over again. (Let's just leave that kiss and all the "biblical" knowing alone, shall we?) No, this time, she wants him to show her how to control her shift with the triskele token that his mother used to teach him. This episode really has a lot going for it when it comes to revisiting the past that shaped these characters, but it officially reaches the threshold for unnecessary coincidences when Baby Derek sticks his baby claws in the BHHS sign to open the Hale family underground vault. It could have been anywhere!
This really is a fun, fast-paced hour, though. Despite the dark overtones of Derek never being able to win, ever, even when he’s just a kid, it's also one of the funniest episodes in at least the last dozen, on a joke-for-joke basis. It’s important that Teen Wolf soften us up all episode with Stiles versus Baby Derek, and Sherriff Stilinski constantly being too old for this s---, because—get ready—we're about to be asked to accept two more supernatural beasts as our Lord and Big Bads, in addition to the blue-faced, teen-tonguing monster down in the high school
gym vault we’re already dealing with.
First came the Berserkers in all their enraged, animal-skull-faced Norse warrior glory, successfully taking True Alpha Scott, nearly feral Malia, and punk Power Ranger Kira down to the ground. But they’re no match for Baby Derek, who has already formed a protective attachment to Scott to rival his future self—who, speaking of, he begins to transform back into just as the Berserkers turn tail and leave. That’s right: Adult Derek Hale won his first fight with the precious assistance of Baby Derek Hale. And only a true Hale would have the bone structure and dramatic stylings to pull off the slow head-turn that Adult Derek does to reveal his re-aged self and newly minted golden eyes to the rest of the pack.
I have absolutely no idea what the change in Derek’s eye color means, but I’m hopeful that Beta-gold lends itself to a more promising and less painful future for Derek than guilty-murderer-blue. Because an episode so rooted in the past suggests that the future of Teen Wolf can go in one of two directions. These kids could continue throwing themselves into the unforgiving hands of the supernatural with less and less consideration for their humanity, doomed to become the next generation of Dereks, strung out by guilt and anger, unable to recover from a past that wronged them. Or Derek blazes a more Lincoln-like path, learning from his many, many, many mistakes and hardships, and using them to become the leader Beacon Hills and Scott need him to be.
Perhaps we’ll find out more next episode...or perhaps we’ll just learn what that mouth-less guy is up to in his shiny shoes.
A few questions to consider, and plot points not to forget:
–The other big bad showing up tonight is mostly introduced by his shoes, expert work with tear gas, and ability to walk away with $117 million of the Hales' secret high school vault money. Where did the Hales get so many dollars, and were bearer bonds the best way to invest all 117 million of them?
–Why exactly did Kate need to go through all of this trouble to learn to control her shift—doesn’t she know Scott will do literally anything if you convince him it’s for a good cause?
–Is the triskele really as valueless as Satan in a V-neck claims?
–That second notice from Eichen House on Sheriff Stilinski’s desk looks ominous.
–What is a Berserker's function, and why is its name so much sillier than its terrifying appearance?
–Deputy Parrish is such a sweetheart. Hope he doesn’t kill everybody or whatever!
–Credit where credit is due: Ian Nelson looks even more like Tyler Hoechlin than he did in Season 3’s flashback episode, seemingly due to an extensive study of Derek’s expressive eyebrow scowling.