I’ve really struggled with myself if I should post this because I don’t want anyone to jump at my throat and I don’t want Jennifer to be a bad guy and maybe my mind is just playing tricks on me, or maybe this is just a continuity error from the makeup team or something
Derek’s neck before sleeping with Jennifer:
versus Derek’s neck after sleeping with her
WHAT IS THIS
ARE THESE CLAW MARKS A LA ALPHA PACK AND PETER HALE STYLE
is this just blood that maybe comes from a wound on his head and has run down his neck
is this just blood that comes from her touching one of his wounds and then his neck later
also, stiles goes by a nickname rather than his given name. does this mean that the character or personality we associate with ‘stiles’ isn’t actually who he is? or does it mean ‘stiles’ is actually a better representation of who he is over his given name?
I’m going to leave aside the obvious direct interpretation of this (that Stiles is rather like Dr. Deacon and Ms. Morell, only one of whom has a first name), to talk about this question in a thematic context. Because it touches upon a lot of things I’ve been musing over this season with the motif of the mirror - identity, losing identity, agency, names and no names and nicknames, the emergence of characters’ ‘real’ faces, the loss of them when drowning in instinct. With the Mirror’s archetypal connection to Identity, it is unsurprising that this is the central image of the season two. So, as it gives me a chance to ramble at length about Stiles and Jackson, I’ve decided to pull out of my ass an overall theory about the mirror’s meaning in this show that looks at it from another angle. Because we all know the mirror in Teen Wolf is important.
And now I’m going to argue it’s unimportant.
Let me first premise that Stiles is the only main character who is not clearly associated with the motif of the mirror.
Other characters are directly connected to the image of the mirror, or possess reflections in other characters or narratives:
Jackson and Lydia are the clearest candidates. They are both obsessed with their appearances, both physical and figurative, and mirrors trail them from season one onwards (e.g., Lydia’s little mirror in her purse). Jackson-as-kanima is confused by his own reflection, while Jackson-as-human constantly stares at himself in a mirror in season two (to admire himself, to panic over the black goo and snakes coming out, etc). Lydia can ‘recognize’ her face, but it’s not real recognition, because her mind too is being taken by an outside force; she wakes up with bloody hands, her bedroom mirror shattered.
Allison and Derek are reflected by their kin in Kate and Peter - the people they are in danger of becoming if they lose sight of themselves. These two narratives - Allison following Kate’s path, Derek turning to Peter, both out of anger and regret - continue the legacy of the Hales versus the Argents. The narrative shows Derek seeing himself in a mirror for the first time in S2 in 2x11. Allison does not explicitly look in a mirror but does so metaphorically by scrutinizing herself and, hating what she sees, shattering her old self in 2x10.
Scott is a difficult one. By my memory in S2 he only sees a mirror in 2x11, and he doesn’t appear to reflect in another character or narrative. However, it is arguable that much of Scott’s story deals with Scott fighting his own reflection - the werewolf inside himself. This Big Issue is exactly the one that will be tested soon, because his anchor is lost in troubled seas.
In the show, Stiles never looks at himself in a mirror (well duh look at the way he dresses, fnar fnar). There is no obvious character or narrative that reflects his own; although Derek and Stiles may act as foils for Scott’s ‘yoda’ in S1, Derek becomes isolated at S2’s beginning and it’s Derek’s developing bond with Scott that is clearly highlighted this season. Finally, remember that in the opening sequence, Stiles doesn’t get touched by water at any point, unlike every other character (save Derek, who has ash).
If we accept that Stiles is not associated with the mirror motif that so dominates this season, then the question is: Why? And what does that say about the Mirror?
Mitch Albom writes in The Five People You Meet In Heaven:
“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
The Argents, I think, are a pretty perfect example of how one should not treat their child, and I’m gonna tell you why.
So, look at these two. VERY VERY clear red eyes. If you look at the most recent season four trailers, (I’ve linked one of them) you can tell that he definitely does NOT have alpha eyes. Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that he did have red eyes back in season 3B, but if you notice he never had ANY of the other alpha qualities. He never turned anyone, he CLEARLY wasn’t any more powerful, and considering his “new” eyes, he is most likely something else.
Because I think his deepest flaws come from the same place as his deepest strength.
Let me be clear: I completely understand why people think Stiles is a Nice Guy, because I too find his obsession with Lydia a really troubling storyline that does Stiles no favors. Stiles doesn’t explicitly push himself on Lydia or demand anything in return for buying her a bunch of gifts, but he doesn’t really respect her boundaries either, because he’s been hovering near her for ten years in the hope that she’ll finally *see* him. I actually believe that he never realized how much she loved Jackson before 2x12, because Lydia herself never appeared to, but the way he took that opportunity after their break-up to go to the dance and icerink with her highlights how stubborn and forever-living-in-hope he is - how he still thinks the reason she won’t accept him is because she’s never truly given him a chance, when he deserves a chance. When nobody owes anyone anything.
This is the primary reason I cannot support Stydia, because that would position Lydia as the “reward” for Stiles’s perseverance. Which is gross. Which is why Jeff Davis’s comment that Stiles *still* can’t let go of her next season is so troubling; though I believe that Stiles will try to let go of her, and simply fail.
So I’m not going to defend this side of Stiles. But what I want to say is that I think - OH GOD I HOPE - that the show will actually explore this as a character flaw, rather than something romantic we should be swooning over. I know that Jeff Davis talked about the beauty of Dylan’s eyes as he looked at Holland Roden, but I understood this as praising the poignancy of the actors’ chemistry, not the beauty of Stiles’s love for Lydia. Because I honestly believe that Stiles does have a love for Lydia that Dylan is conveying here in the raw emotion of his eyes, even if it’s more for the Lydia he believes exists below the surface rather than whoever Lydia wants to be, and I believe you can truly love someone while still deserving nothing in return.
See, I think that this inability to let go is the dark side to how deeply Stiles can care for the few people in his life. In the same way that he can be a bit callous to those outside his small circle, he can be overly attached to those within it. We all know that Stiles is protective and loyal to the death, but we haven’t really talked about the flipside of that: the way that Stiles cares so, so deeply that the bonds become chains he can’t let go of when he knows he should.
By now, I’m actually 100% convinced Cora is working with the Alpha pack.
Because there were few people who knew about Boyd’s plan with the electricity (her obviously being one of them, since Boyd also texted her to inform her that plan had failed), and Kali and the twins wouldn’t have bothered to cut the power unless they’d been tipped off about it.
So, everyone remembers obviously the Benefactor’s lovely pick? Well, if you watch the latest trailer you can kinda see he’s bald. Who else has trouble speaking so would probably use a voice editor, uses smoke grenades, needs money to pay bills, is bald, and favorite weapon was melee? Gerrald. He also very often wore leather and would without a doubt have a hit list for all supernatural creatures. Plus, he obviously played Kate meaning that Kate trusted him. And he’d DEFINITELY betray her. “When it comes to survival, I’d kill my own son”
(Warning: I don’t often talk about clothing for good reason - I barely know anything about it! So some terms I’m using are probably wrong, however there are plenty of screenshots so hopefully that explains things better.)
so this great meta of the end scene just reminded me:
…doesn’t Isaac usually wear solid, monochrome, low-saturation colors?
I went back and looked at Isaac through S2 and realized that he went from hiding himself under gray baggy hoodies, to adopting Derek’s style of thin solid-color henleys, to beginning to layer again after turning to Scott. What kind of layering? Blue as the inner layer under a dark overshirt… then blue as the over-layer as the finale begins….then only blue at the finale’s end. And that last shot is the most revealing shirt Isaac wears to date, because he never bares his arms outside lacrosse.
So let’s go through the evidence. We meet Isaac as a kid wearing at least three layers beside his father in 2x01, then a baggie hoodie in that kitchen scene in 2x02:
“When the going gets tough, we do the things we never thought we’d do. For the power to protect his loved ones, Stiles sells his soul to the King of Hell. Life’s all well for a kid whose chest feels lighter without a soul anyways, but like they say - the devil’s in the details.
A lot of those details seem to involve Derek Hale.”
i don't really get it, why do you want deaton to be bad?
I don’t want him to be bad, exactly
yeah, okay, no, total fucking lie, I really want him to be the bad guy. Or, not the bad guy….just at the very least the Dumbledore of Beacon Hills, who raises and then leads his little sacrificial lambs to the slaughter without a second thought because it will serve Beacon Hills.
It’s not just that the arc’s not convincing, it’s that it’s not moving.
The thing is, as it stands I can still “explain” Allison’s fall on an intellectual level based on the character history we have, but that doesn’t mean I find it fulfilling on an emotional level.
I think - and this goes back to the lack of time we explore through Allison’s eyes - it’s because the emotional weight her story wants to carry doesn’t feel entirely earned. Why has this girl gone so darkside? Well yes I know why there’s that trauma of her mom dying and her manipulative grandpa and her whole strange hunter family and a long-simmering pride but you’ve given me these elements without giving me human reasons to care!
(I can’t speak on disability, so I apologize for focusing on the social aspects of Erica’s disability here - that is, “bullying” and loneliness" and “ugliness” in general. I know that many aspects of disability are unique and I don’t wish to co-opt them as my own experience.)
Just saw what lolafeist replied to that meta earlier on Erica’s epilepsy, and that led me on another thought about the worth of “the supernatural”:
Don’t get me wrong though. Erica is clearly suffering from her epilepsy, regardless of bullying, and who wouldn’t want to be HEALED? Anyone would want to be healed, and that aspect of it doesn’t bug me at all.
But the social part—the bullying part—the part where it’s easier to fit in now because she’s “prettier,” because her disability has been erased. That makes me sad.
It’s never anyone’s responsibility to become less… bully-able. It’s everyone else’s responsibility to not be shitheads.
I forgot to mention earlier that I totally agree with lola here, even though I was saying that the bite’s not meaningless. I think that the bite is a solution that's legitimate for easing her pain, a solution you can’t discount because it’s “the easy way out”; but it’s also one that’s reflective of something sad and troubling about our society.
Jeff Davis said he wanted to create an ideal world in his show, a world where a kid can be gay and the most popular jock at school, a world where the straight hero would grin at getting bought drinks by a guy, a world where nobody cared what race or gender or sexuality you were. I think it says something that disability was a reach too far for this world. That even the idealists can’t imagine a high school where a teenage girl wouldn’t be ostracized and ridiculed for being “ugly” and “weird”.
It was definitely a confusing sequence to me. I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be reading into it because I am pretty sure Lydia and Stiles aren’t for each other. I think I came to the conclusion as above in that it was pointing out the humans and their capacity for being loyalty and love and strength.
I think it’s interesting because the TEXT of the scene is supposed to be referencing ONLY Lydia, that is who Peter is talking about, it’s his dialogue, that’s his plan right now. But the first person we see, the first person that comes to mind for Derek (this is HIS POV it’s very clear), is Stiles. He gets to Lydia but then GOES BACK to Stiles. It’s deliberate.And because of what I think of the Lydia and Stiles storyline, I don’t think the back and forth between Lydia and Stiles is the focus. Because this is Derek’s POV. We are still in the scene wit Derek and Peter. If it were STILES POV we could infer something else. Derek has a long and tortured history with human love and he’s been BURNED by it and Peter knows it. It’s an interesting tactic to take because it could backfire, Derek SHOULDN’T be swayed by human love. So does Peter know something about Derek and Stiles that we don’t? We were told by Deaton that Peter would lie and manipulate. The easiest way to do that is to manipulate personal feelings.
See, I don’t think Peter actually knows about whether Derek has any ~love-feels~ for Stiles (or for anyone alive at all), because even though he saw Derek and Stiles together at the hospital it was much more of an ally relationship than anything else, and I can’t imagine he’d instantly infer more than that (and we’re not even sure if there’s any canonical plan for Sterek love-feels in the first place…YET).
So I don’t think we’re *meant* to assume that he’s trying to manipulate Derek by evoking Derek’s connection to Stiles or anyone in particular, as the canon so far shows that Peter doesn't know about any current love-connection to Derek. We can speculate, but we can’t assume. I think it’s more that Peter really does mean Lydia’s love for Jackson and vice versa, which falls neatly in line with Dr. Deaton’s goal to “save [Jackson], not kill him”, which ought to make Peter sound more trustworthy … but somehow Peter is going to turn her saving of him into an advantage (perhaps he still has a connection to Lydia?).
BUT I think you are totally right that we are looking through Derek’s POV, not Peter’s, and Derek’s POV chooses to go to Stiles, which is very very interesting and makes my shipper heart skip a step.
Just to play devil’s advocate though, I want to offer another explanation on what the show’s doing here that *does* allow for Stydia to be part of “human love”, because I haven’t seen it elsewhere:
what if this sequence is actually linking Stiles’s love unexpectedly cheering him on to Stiles scoring the winner, and therefore visually telling a story of “the power of human love” at the same time that Jackson’s story does? Because the very next sequence is that of Jackson’s love for Lydia allowing Jackson to “score the winner”. Parallels. Layers. One visual snapshot of “the power of human love” - Stiles scoring, whirling around and just gaping at Lydia cheering for him, his heart soaring - and one metaphorical, in Jackson’s sacrifice.
Love is powerful.
Love is victory, in the most trying of circumstances.
I don’t mean that Lydia cheering *literally* inspires Stiles to score the winner, because that’s stupid, and I don’t think he even saw her cheering until right after he scored that goal. I mean that the visuals create this connection: Lydia cheering / Stiles scoring the winner / Stiles whirling around and seeing Lydia cheering for him / a look of wonderment crossing Stiles’s face. This is a visual metaphor for Jackson’s sacrifice - human love prevailing in the darkest of hours.
See, I don’t think that Stydia needs to be endgame at all for the “power of human love” here to refer to both these things: Stiles’s love for Lydia, and Jackson’s love for Lydia (and vice versa imo). Because *right now*, Stiles still does love Lydia, and even though it’s not True Love it’s still something that he thinks in his head and reflects in the look on his face. It’s still a kind of human love that means something to him. This love doesn’t have the depth of meaning that Peter’s quote intends, but it visualizes on screen the larger meaning: love underpinning victory. And that continues the rich parallels in this episode: lacrosse players falling over, Erica/Boyd falling over; Isaac’s mercy, Allison’s cruelty.
Would I love a more Sterek slant? Definitely. I think Sterek is endgame, and I think finding a subtle implication is valid here. I expect Jydia endgame and Stydia friendship. But I wanted to offer another take on this, because I don’t think the canon has necessarily arrived at even the Sterek implications yet, because I don’t think that Derek is ready for any kind of love at all. With anyone. I think he still needs to grow in so many ways, among them learning to trust, before he can be ready to love. That’s why I offered this meta earlier on how I saw the “human” in Peter’s quote as a word that didn’t exclusively mean the humans; but as something more metaphorical in tone, meant to call out to Derek’s humanity, the part of Derek that still understands the worth of love even if it resists it.
So, is it possible that the two berserkers are Chris and Gerrard Argent? I know in one scene it looks like Gerrard is being held up by one of the berserkers, but if you notice in that scene there is only ONE berserker, whereas in other scenes there are two. And after everything the two of them have been through they definitely could have lost their minds and worked for Kate. Also, Chris hasn’t been shown much in the trailers despite being a very important character, meaning that he could be one. And I don’t think Peter or Derek are the berserkers like many people have thought because A. They were shown too much in the trailers and B. I doubt Kate would be willing to work with either of them, ESPECIALLY Peter.