Teen Wolf Season 4, Episode 12: "Smoke & Mirrors" Recap/Review

Welp, even though I'm positive my heart stopped at several different points while watching this episode, we all made it through (I think?) what ended up being hands-down the best episode of Season 4. I mean, what's not to love? Scott McCall truly is the truest of alphas; Derek Hale is a reborn-beta with even more power than before; Liam Dunbar is the most precious, strong, and brave little babe in the world, Malia Hale exceeded everyone's expectations and tbh, I think the fandom owes her a huge apology; Lydia Martin and Mason are two of the most die-hard loyal friends in the universe; Stiles Stilinski loves his pack so much that he ran into an Aztec temple full of berserkers and werecreatures in the middle of a full moon with no weapons whatsoever; and while Peter Hale and Kate Argent may not have been killed like I was hoping, they are out of the picture for now, each with their own story lines that have the potential to be amazing next season. Plus, Stilinski family feels? Yukimura family feels? Argent family feels? I ADORED IT ALL.

All in all, I only have a few complaints, the biggest of which is that we have to wait EIGHT WHOLE MONTHS until season 5 starts in June 2015! Which, honestly, is more of a whiny complaint than anything else, because they gave us 36 episodes in the span of like fourteen months and that's not only really nice of them, considering they probably didn't have much of a break between 3B and 4, but it also had an effect on the stories in Season 4 due to the time crunch. I know a lot of people hated this season (although I wholeheartedly but respectfully disagree-- this season wasn't my favorite, sure, but I was thoroughly entertained and the character moments were to die for, so honestly? I'm happy with how it ended) but I do think that part of the problem was that it was just really rushed. Now, with the extra time, everyone on the cast and crew can take some time off, clean out their heads of all the stuff that went down this season, and then come back fresh with new ideas and much more time to figure out a way to execute them well. ANYWAY, I want to start digging in, so enough of my yapping, let's talk about "Smoke & Mirrors!"

WARNING: This recap totally got out of control, and it is like, RIDICULOUSLY long. Like, full-length-novel-long. I tried to break it up with pictures and gifs to make it less of a ginormo-wall-of-text, but that resulted in it also being ridiculously gif-heavy, so be advised! I suggest opening a new tab so you can read it at your leisure. ;)

Previously, on Teen Wolf: Chris broke into a wolfsbane growhouse and stole a pretty yellow wolfsbane plant before hiding it in a safe at Argent Arms. The McCall pack discovered a hit list of supernatural creatures called a deadpool that had everyone in the pack on it, plus some other notable additions like Kate Argent, Satomi Ito, and Jordan Parrish. They eventually figured out that it was being organized by someone called the Benefactor, and used their best detective skills (led, of course, by Stiles and Lydia) to eventually figure out that Meredith Walker, our other resident banshee, was behind the creation of the list on the orders of a comatose Peter several years prior to the start of the series. Malia and Stiles finally found the hidden computer system in Lydia's late grandmother's lake house that was in charge of automating the payments to the assassins after confirmation of their kills and thankfully was able to shut it all down for good. (We hope, anyway-- after what happened to Peter this week, I'm sure he'd be pretty thrilled to hire out hits on the McCall Pack in its entirety.)

Also, Scott had an internal struggle with his inner monster and on several occasions had a difficult time reigning in his wolf, usually under times of intense fighting against the assassins trying to kill them all. Kate presumably laid some kind of werejaguar mojo on Derek that caused him to lose all of his powers-- the ability to shift, the super-speed/strength/agility, enhanced senses, and enhanced healing-- so Braeden taught him to fight like a human with guns and other weapons. To make matters even MORE terrifying, Lydia showed up at Derek's loft in the middle of the night and wailed a banshee wail, suggesting that time may be running out for our favorite no-longer-sour-wolf. Kate and Peter have been secretly plotting together behind everyone's backs, and as it turns out, part of the plan involved Peter killing Scott and becoming the alpha he believes he deserves to be. So, to finally enact the plan, Kate and a berserker showed up at Kira and Scott's date at the loft, beat the shit out of them, and took them down to La Iglesia in Mexico so Kate could take out her anger toward Scott somehow decimating her family by turning him into a berserker. Which is more or less where we pick up this week!

We begin this fantastic finale at La Iglesia, where Kira has been nodding on and off on top of her little pile of bones. She eventually wakes up with a gasp and is immediately freaked out, since allowing yourself to fall into a vulnerable state such as sleep in a temple that contains a werejaguar who is high on vengeance and several berserkers who are under her control can get you killed pretty easily. She also still seems to be injured from the fight the previous day, as her face is still all bloody and she's covered in bruises. She gazes up at the skylight, looking pretty defeated, but when she happens to glance over at the metal, barred door, she realizes that it has somehow been unlocked while she was sleeping. The bones of god knows how many humans rattle under her feet as she heads for the door and pushes it open a crack, and after considering her options for a moment, decides she might as well get out of there and see if she can't find Scott.

"Scott?" Kira whispers tentatively, but of course, she gets no answer. She slowly starts making her way through the hallways of the abandoned temple, clearly on edge, considering she has no weapons and it's not exactly like she's at full power. She calls out for Scott again and gropes at the wall beside her to help lead her through the darkened halls. The farther she walks, the more she starts to hyperventilate about the fact that she and her boyfriend have been hurt and captured, and she has no idea where she is or where she's going, not to mention she's certainly not in a position to fight right now if it comes to it. Unfortunately for her, she's so dead-set on making her way around the church that she doesn't even notice that she passed a berserker, who was blending into the bone-covered walls, totally silent. Once she passes it, it turns its head toward her and slowly starts to slink behind her. Berserkers are pretty good at being predators, aren't they? I feel like we seem them stalking the people they're after pretty frequently, like how they followed around Scott/Braeden and Malia/Kira in "The Dark Moon." Kira hears the quietest of growls behind her and stops what she's doing so she can turn and look behind her, but she can't see anything, so she musters up some courage and continues her journey, this time walking much faster as she struggles to keep her breathing under control. I have to give Arden Cho tons of kudos here, because I felt her fear in this scene down into my soul, and it was terrifying all the way.

She stops short near the end of the hall when she realizes that she's being blocked by a berserker, so naturally, the background music does the high-pitched strings characteristic of horror movies. So, she instantly does a heel-turn face and rushes in the opposite direction, only to literally run into ANOTHER berserker. That berserker immediately grabs her by the shoulders and straight-up slams her body into the wall several times before throwing her into what I've heard is called the Obsidian Room (which is weird, because I'm pretty sure the whole temple, or at least the majority of it, is made of obsidian, but whatever.) The berserker shoves her against a huge obsidian boulder, and though Kira fights her hardest in trying to at least break its grip on her, she's clearly outmatched. After a moment, she notices something on the berserker that shocks her so severely that she stops kicking and struggling against it and stares-- on the exposed portion of the berserker's arm between it's shoulder/chest protection and arm guards (both made of what I'm guessing is bear leather or something) there is clearly a black tattoo of two different-sized bands. THE BERSERKER IS SCOTT. Kira looks up into his eyes, which are the chocolate-brown eyes of Scott McCall that we know and love, but they almost look dead inside, which just horrifies Kira. Berserker!Scott throws Kira onto the ground and crouches over her, about to start beating her again, when he suddenly hears a feline roar behind him and instantly stands down, just as Kate swaggers into the room like she owns the place. Oh, woot! Exposition time!

"I'm GOING to have to do a better job of covering that up," Kate croons, as she flirtatiously drags a finger across Scott's armband tattoo. Man, Kate is just always balls-to-the-wall when it comes to predatory behavior towards much younger men, isn't she? Between simultaneously torturing and coming onto Derek and constantly cooing about Scott's beautiful brown eyes in Season 1, to Kate's "Let's do him together, Allison" thing during Allison's sex dream about Isaac in "Anchors," to making out with teenage Derek in "117" even though he was literally half her age, and being all, "Don't worry, handsome" to Stiles in "Time of Death." That's not even mentioning the fact that she literally strapped Scott down to a table last week to force him into becoming a monster without his consent. BUT, I DIGRESS. As usual. ANYWAY, Kate glares at Kira, who is still on her knees on the ground, as she walks past her, and Kira angrily demands to know what she did to Scott. "How," Kate begins, as she strolls around the room. "That's...that's the better story. See, when I first got away from the Calaveras, I had no idea where to go. But, something kept pulling me here, to the Temple of Tezcatlipoca." OH SHIT. So, does this mean that I was onto something when I suggested that this temple gave her additional power? I think there's a reason why she keeps coming back here-- maybe it gives her protection, maybe it gives her strength, but she's getting SOME kind of boost from it.

"His name means 'smoking mirror,' and this place is a temple of the smoking mirror," she continues, as she runs her fingernails across the dusty wall beside her, revealing black, glass-like stone underneath. "Obsidian. When I got here, I found the berserkers waiting for me. They helped me survive. And, I didn't know quite why until just recently-- 'til I decided to trust someone I NEVER thought I would trust." PETER FUCKING HALE I HATE YOU SO GODDAMN MUCH. Kate walks over to Berserker!Scott and runs a finger over the bone rib cage that covers his chest and gets to the point. "It was then that I found out I could not only control the berserkers, I could CREATE them. They call me La Loba, the Bone Woman. We let you out because I needed to test his loyalty." Okay, so wait, is this all the explanation we get? I still don't understand why Kate ended up turning into a werejaguar, rather than a werewolf, and I don't get how she is also La Loba, too. Are they connected? Has she always been the Bone Woman? I JUST WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING. Scott continues to stand silently at Kate's side, staring emotionlessly at his girlfriend in front of him, when Kate decides it's time to torture both Scott and Kira once again. "Did you know Scott became an alpha without having to kill anyone? He's been through quite a lot without ever having to kill. I think it's time to change that."

NOPE NOPE NOPE. I'm going to be honest with you, this part was the hardest part for me to watch, tbh. Scott would never, ever, in a million years WILLINGLY hurt anyone in his pack, (Honestly, he doesn't even like hurting non-pack acquaintances/strangers, either-- he really only does it to defend himself/his loved ones) so the fact that he's been turned into his worst nightmare AND forced to go after his best friends and girlfriend is literally a fate worse than death for him. Anyway, Kira looks up at Scott in fear as he pulls what looks like one of those huge berserker claws out of the belt around his waist and holds it like a dagger as he lunges for Kira. Kira tries her best to back away from him as she pleads with him not to do this, but it's futile-- whatever it is that Kate did to turn Scott into a berserker seems to have neutralized all of his personality/Scott-ness, and his only focus is on doing what Kate orders him to do. Berserker!Scott holds his arm above his head, much like how he did in his nightmare dreamscape when the Mute taught him how to tomahawk Liam to death, and plunges the dagger into Kira's chest in one single, solid stroke before lifting his head and glaring at the camera. NOOO, not my Scott! And not my thunder princess! TITLE CARD!

When we return, we catch up with the Stilinskis at the Sheriff's Department, where Sheriff is in the middle of shutting his office door before turning to his son and hissing, "You are NOT going to Mexico!" BAHAHA, I knew it! After their "camping trip" ended up being a voyage to Mexico, from which he returned home with a de-aged Derek Hale, I figure Sheriff isn't really keen on a repeat performance. Stiles, who is quite understandably freaking out, considering his bestest bro and one of his best friends are once again in extreme danger, just snarks, "Dad, Scott and Kira have been KIDNAPPED and taken to Mexico! Okay? I think that's a pretty good reason for a trip to Mexico!" Word, Stiles! Though I do share Sheriff's worry that something terrible could happen to his at least mostly-human son, because he's seen the berserkers first-hand and knows how strong they are. However, Sheriff does concede that it's possible and even likely that Deaton is right about what could be happening to Scott, but he insists that the best way to help them is to go through official law enforcement channels; namely, calling up local law enforcement agencies and border patrol and getting out an APB, which is a really, REALLY stupid idea, imo. Not only is that way too time-consuming for the current circumstances, but it's also just plain ineffective-- what can a cop or a federal agent do against Kate and her berserkers? NOTHING. The rest of the McCall Pack and their allies know way more about their threat than anyone else.

"Dad, I can't just wait around for the wheels of bureaucracy to start spinning in five different government offices, okay?" Stiles argues passionately. "Someone needs to go down there RIGHT NOW, find them, and rescue them! I'm going!" Sheriff reminds his son that he can keep him from going, both on a parental level and on a sheriff level, but Stiles insists that he would still find a way no matter what, even if he gets locked in a jail cell. We ALL know that's damn true, too-- Stiles' love for Scott and his desperation to never again lose any friends like they lost Allison, Boyd, and Erica is only rivaled by Stiles' love for his own father, tbh. Sheriff knows that Stiles is not going to stop until he finds his friends and makes sure they're safe, but he still doesn't want Stiles getting involved if he doesn't have to, so he pleads with his son to give him just a teeny bit more time to try to at least get a better lead than "a psychic vision by some guy with a third eye," which made me LOL SO HARD. I can't wait to learn more about Dr. Valak, tbh.

Sheriff promises he'll call every single law enforcement agency from Beacon Hills to South America if it comes to it, and promises if that doesn't work, he'll let Stiles take the reins and book them both two flights to Mexico so they can go save Scott and Kira together. Stiles' shoulders slump, and after a moment of pouting, he reluctantly agrees to Sheriff's terms, although he overacts it juuuust enough that we all know he has no intention of listening to his dad whatsoever, and will instead activate Gibbs-rule number seven: "It's better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission." "Okay, great!" Stiles replies. "Do I get a gun?" Of course, Sheriff immediately nixes that idea which is kind of a bummer, tbh. Wouldn't Stiles with a gun be super badass and entertaining? Maybe Braeden can teach him, too. (God, it's so weird that I can be SO anti-violence/guns/murder in any form in real life but when it comes to my TV shows, I'm just like, "KILL THAT ASSHOLE RIGHT NOW OMG DO IT GIVE THE KID A SHOTGUN AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.")

ANYWAY, speaking of Braeden, she and Derek are at the loft, where they're cleaning all of Braeden's various shotguns and handguns and taking inventory on how much ammo they have between them. Derek is still not exactly thrilled to be relying on guns in this fight, but Braeden assures him that it's understandable that he misses his powers, especially given how much he's come to rely on them over the years. "It's not about power," Derek insists. "It's about being able to help. I don't like feeling helpless." Braeden reminds him that hello, she's human, and she's the farthest thing from helpless, which she demonstrates by loading her handgun without even looking at it, but Derek just half-heartedly jokes that she's a better shot than he is.

I actually like that, tbh-- Derek isn't like Peter, he doesn't think that humans are weaker or lesser than werewolves/supernaturals, he just feels like HE, as a human, is helpless, because he's spent his entire life using these specific enhanced abilities that he no longer (or, at least, not currently) has access to. It fits in with the fact that Derek said the Hale family also had humans in it, so even though he's a born werewolf who was raised in a centuries-old pack, it's not like he was completely secluded from humans. Derek can't quite mask his obvious anxiety about his chances in this fight, though, especially considering Lydia wailed for him, and Braeden instantly realizes that Derek doesn't think he'll be coming back from their trip. "Not alive," Derek admits. Braeden sets down her weapons and walks over to him as she points out how she is not at all okay with him dying.

Derek seems to be so touched that someone gives a fuck about him that he kisses her for a long moment. When they finally break apart, he confesses, "I am. If it saves Scott and Kira." OH MY GOD. My love for the friendship between Scott/Derek and Kira/Derek is pretty well documented on this blog, and mannnn, did I get some good material this week! HE LOVES HIS PACK SO MUCH. Like seriously, there is no longer any evidence to support the argument that Derek isn't in the McCall Pack. Derek is NOT an omega, he's a beta, and he likes being a beta. He may know more about the supernatural and being a werewolf than Scott, but he has no problems following Scott's lead, because he KNOWS that Scott is a born leader. And judging by how amazing his personality has become since he lost his alpha spark, Derek LOVES being a beta, because it's less pressure-- he just said he doesn't like feeling helpless, and being in Scott's pack makes him feel like he's helping, because he IS. He's basically Scott's second-in-command. ANYWAY, I digress again. Braeden looks sad about just how okay with dying seems to be, anxiety or not, and Derek definitely notices, because he changes the subject to their weapons cache and how he's not exactly sure that they even have enough to take down ONE berserker. Of course, that's Peter's cue to come ambling down the spiral staircase to start planting his seeds of lies and manipulation into this rescue mission.

"Not even close," Peter smugs, as he joins his nephew and his nephew's lover, for lack of a better word, and laughs dramatically before he continues his own bit of villain-y exposition. "Killing a berserker is next to impossible. It's not just the firepower, it's breaking the animal spirit from the human." Derek informs him that the only person they know who knows as much about berserkers as Peter does is Chris, who hasn't returned any of Derek's phone calls. Aw, Derek sounds so disappointed! The Broship Hargent sails itself. And of course, Peter keeps completely silent about the fact that the reason WHY Derek hasn't heard from Chris is because Peter impaled him with rebar in the sewers and left him for dead. Peter does reply that if they can't go to Chris, they're going to need help. "Like Malia, maybe Liam, and definitely ME," Peter adds with an evil smirk. Wait, how does Peter even know about Liam? Did Derek mention it in passing? Like, there are a couple instances in this episode where it seems like people know things that we haven't seen them learn, and it makes me sad for all the possible explanations for that stuff between characters that we missed out on, even though it's not like there was any time for it whatsoever.

Meanwhile, Stiles has caught up with Malia and is now at the McCall house, where they are frantically looking for something of Scott's to use to help track him by scent when they inevitably end up down south. Wait, shouldn't they all know each other's scents by now? They spend enough time together, you'd think. Anyway, Stiles tosses her a shirt from Scott's closet, but Malia claims she can only smell fabric softener. Desperate, Stiles rushes into Scott's bathroom in hopes that there's some dirty clothes in his hamper with his scent on it, but of course, he only finds one single pair of boxers. He holds them out to Malia, who immediately wrinkles her nose and backs away from them, even when Stiles reminds her that Scott's life is in danger, so it's worth it. LOL, MALIA! Teenage boys are so gross, I don't blame her at all for not wanting to smell his dirty underwear, tbh. Luckily for her, Malia is a smart girl, and ultimately decides to use Scott's pillow to get a scent, which honestly would have been the first place I looked. Get it together, canines!

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Ready to go, Stiles and Malia make their way downstairs, where they find Liam leaning against the kitchen table, waiting for them. Stiles wastes no time instructing Liam to go home, and argues that he isn't going with them to Mexico. Liam is understandably, like, "Why not?" because unlike Stiles, Liam is a super-strong beta werewolf who has the ability to heal AND physically fight supernaturals without instantly getting critically injured/killed, but as Stiles reminds us, this excursion to Mexico will be falling right about when the full moon goes up. Basically, Stiles points out that the last thing anyone needs is Liam wolfing-out on everyone and killing them before they get there. Liam is SUPER eager to help out, though, especially since it's his alpha's life on the line, so he argues that they can chain him up in the backseat or something. Unfortunately, Malia gently brings up the fact that the LAST time they chained him up, he broke through the many chains they used EASILY, so that's a no-go. "Yeah, we would have to freeze you in carbonite to get you down there," Stiles quips, and when Liam adorably is like, "Okay, then where do we get carbonite?" Stiles just gives him the strongest side-eye at the fact that NOBODY he knows has actually seen Star Wars except for Kira. I'm with you, Liam-- I've seen the first/fourth Star Wars movie and was bored to tears and can't remember anything about it. /unpopular opinion.

(via makos-lightningrod)
Anyway, Stiles and Malia head for the door, and Liam frantically calls after them to wait and suggests that they put him in the trunk instead. Malia once again points out that it takes a serious lock-up to hold a werewolf, especially on a full moon, so he wouldn't have to work that hard to get out of the trunk, either. Totally legit point-- remember that one time in season 2 where Allison chained Scott inside a deep freezer and he STILL managed to get out using his full-moon power and rage at the thought of Allison being hurt? And Liam seems to be even stronger than Scott was as a beta because of his own rage issues. "Liam, you've been a werewolf for all of five minutes, you don't have to do this," Stiles argues kindly, but Liam is serious about helping. "I know I don't, but I want to!" Malia looks sympathetic, and looks at Stiles in a way that communicates that he should hear Liam out. "There's got to be bigger chains, a bigger trunk, or SOMETHING! There has to be!" Liam insists, which gives Stiles an idea, as he thinks they might know someone who has something like that.

Cut to some parking garage, or another of Beacon Hills' abandoned warehouses, where the Mexico gang has met up to figure out their game plan. In attendance are Stiles, Malia, and Liam, who came in Stiles' Jeep, along with Peter, Derek, and Braeden, the latter of which arrives in a huuuuge black police paddywagon. Stiles asks her how she managed to get her hands on a prison transport van, but Braeden just gestures to the badge around her neck and replies, "I'm a US Marshal!" with a smirk. Stiles was sure that was just her cover, which Braeden doesn't even dignify with a response. Derek swaggers out of his Toyota and snits, "Are we really bringing him?" as he gestures to Liam, but Stiles just repeats the question to Derek when he sees that Peter has come with him. TELL HIM, STILES! The fact that Stiles has had such a bad feeling about Peter all this time should really mean more to the rest of the pack at this point, because despite Stiles' faults, he really does have a perceptive eye for evil, and has historically gotten hinky feelings from all of the villains before they even knew they were the villains. Peter is still very hurt that no one trusts them, as if they don't have ALL THE REASON IN THE WORLD, and pouts that they need to bring anyone they can to help them out, considering their enemy and the fact that it's a full moon.

Peter then goes on to say that they should really get moving, given how long Scott and Kira have already been gone, but Malia asks him to elaborate. "If Kate took Scott back to the same temple that she took Derek, how do we know she's not planning to do the same thing to him?" Nice bit of misdirection there, ya dick. Liam was apparently read into the whole de-aged Derek situation at some point, because he seems skeptical that Kate would want to make Scott younger, but Derek thinks perhaps she'd want to take him back to before he was a werewolf. "A werewolf can't steal a true alpha's power," Peter explains. "But maybe, a nagual jaguar with the power of Tezcatlipoca behind her? Maybe she can."

OOH, now everything makes sense! Everyone, myself included, seemed confused as to why Peter would allow Scott to be turned into a berserker if he was planning on killing Scott for his alpha power, but if he can't steal the power in the first place, then that's why he'd be okay with one of the other kids killing him? Plus, they were in the obsidian temple, which is said to be a "smoking mirror"-- maybe he thought killing Scott would release some kind of alpha power, and figured the mirror could bounce it back to him? Or that Kate could use her werejaguar mojo to direct it back to him? It also makes sense that true alpha's power can't be taken-- since Scott never took the alpha spark from another alpha in the first place, he literally created it from within himself, so it only belongs to him and no one else. ANYWAY, Peter decides they've spent enough time yapping, and suggests they hit the road ASAP. Unfortunately for him, they're still waiting on one crucial person-- Lydia.

Who, as it turns out, is over at the school, where she's breaking into Kira's locker in hopes that there's something in there with her scent that the wolves/coyotes can use to help track her once they make it to La Iglesia. Lydia finds a jacket and sniffs it in hopes that if she can smell Kira on it, that the werecanids can, before murmuring, "I hope this works." Suddenly, she hears a menacing growl behind her, and freezes in fear. Luckily for her, she ends up ducking just in time to barely miss getting punched in the head by the lone berserker who was left behind in Beacon Hills. NOOOOOO! I hate this berserker for so many reasons, but the chief reason is that he kept Lydia from helping the pack! I enjoyed Lydia's interactions with Mason, but I would have preferred her going to Mexico with the gang, tbh.

Back at whatever parking space the Mexico gang is hanging out, Stiles is pacing back and forth while he anxiously tries to get hold of Lydia on his phone, though she can't answer his calls, obviously, because she's too busy being chased around by a terrifying behemoth of a werebear. Derek asks what she was doing at the school anyway, so Malia explains that while she got Kira's sword to bring with them, Lydia was in charge of getting something of hers with her scent. Could they not go to her house or something? Maybe they were afraid of her parents getting pissed at the fact that she got kidnapped and nobody told them. Stiles eventually joins them and admits he still can't get in touch with her, so Braeden decides that since Lydia has a car, it's probably best that she just catch up with them later, with which Peter wholeheartedly agrees.

Stiles does NOT feel good about leaving before they know if something bad is happening to Lydia, but of course, Peter is antsy (and by "antsy," I mean, "clearly knows what is happening to Lydia because he likely orchestrated it and is trying to get out of there before anyone figures it out") and insists that they need to skedaddle, so if Stiles is that worried, he can stay behind and find her while they go to Mexico. Ouch! Rude, Peter! Although, I guess it's easy to not be worried about Lydia when you're the one orchestrating her abduction by berserker in the first place, isn't it? Anyway, clearly torn, Stiles waffles back and forth in his head about his options, until Liam suggests that he call Mason, who is already at school with his "study group" for whatever reason, to have him check up on her and make sure she's okay, which seems to satisfy Stiles enough to not totally regret leaving without her. Aw, Liam, he's being so helpful, I love it! Intense stress, fear, and threat to your life is a great crucible for some people, I guess? So as much as all the trauma Liam and the rest of the pack has suffered, it's hard to deny it hasn't made them better people in the end.

As everyone is loading into their vehicles, Stiles takes Malia aside and reluctantly admits that he needs to ride with Derek, Liam, and Braeden, since he has the most experience keeping unruly teen wolves under control on full moons. He asks her if she's okay with riding with Peter, to which Malia replies, "He IS my father. Maybe we can do some bonding." Stiles HATES that idea, and suggests that Malia keep the volume to the music up and the talking to a minimum, which makes her chuckle. Before they go, Peter decides to hammer home just how serious the threat of the berserkers are, just to prime them even more to eventually (and unknowingly) kill berserker!Scott.

"Remember what we're dealing with, here. It's not just Kate, it's the berserkers. You might see human eyes behind those skulls-- don't assume that there's ANY humanity left." Poor Liam is still suffering the post-traumatic effects of his last fight with the berserkers, and gets so nervous about it that Peter instantly senses/scents that Liam is terrified of them, and insists that it's a good thing, because fear keeps you alive and blah blah blah Peter-speak. "A reminder to everyone," Peter concludes. "You do not fight berserkers to survive-- you fight to kill." To drive that point home, I guess, we cut to La Iglesia, where berserker!Scott is growling and glaring menacingly at the camera once again, so we can see his human eyes behind his skull mask.

At the school, Mason is walking around the bus bay to the parking lot while he talks to Liam on the phone. He sees Lydia's product-placement Toyota in the lot and informs Liam that she must still be there, and offers to go back in the school to look for her. Liam takes him up on that offer, and insists that he call him back as soon as he finds her, before Mason hangs up and heads back to the school. UH OH. When will these kids learn that they should never been in that school after-hours?/on weekends? Hell, they're not even safe when school is in session! They should really just shut it down and hold school literally anywhere else in the town. There seem to be enough abandoned buildings in Beacon Hills, I'm sure they can figure it out.

"Trainwreck 1979" by Death From Above 1979 plays as both groups of the Mexico Gang make their way on down to Mexico. Braeden is driving the prison transport vehicle, while Derek and Stiles get to work locking Liam down to his bench with four pairs of handcuffs. Derek asks him if he's chained up tight enough, so Liam experiments by pulling against his chains as hard as he can, and all three of them seem satisfied when they appear to hold up. Yeah, we all know all of Liam's strength comes from anger/threats to himself or his loved ones, and is amplified like all werewolves on the full moon, so just because they're holding NOW in broad daylight doesn't mean they'll do shit when the moon is out. Derek, being the werewolf mentor that he is, pulls the triskelion out of his leather jacket and adds, "I brought something to help you. This has been in my family for centuries," Derek explains seriously, as Stiles gives him some intense side-eye next to him. "It's a very powerful supernatural talisman. We use it to teach betas how to control themselves under the full moon." He hands it over to Liam, who takes it and studies it curiously, just as Stiles gives him a look, like, "What the fuck are you talking about, dude? Didn't your family win that in an arcade game or something?" Derek gives him a hard look to stick with the story, so Stiles eventually cowers in fear and stammers, "Yes, it's powerful! VERY powerful." GOD, Derek, Stiles, and Liam might be another OT3 of mine, in a friendship sort of way. This scene was priceless.

Back at the school, Mason is slowly walking down the hallways, which are getting dark pretty quickly as the sun starts to go down. He calls out her name as he peeks into a classroom, but once he sees that it's completely empty, he moves on to the next room. He's about to turn down the hall when he passes the staircase and finds Lydia's huge-ass white phone and Kira's jacket laying on the bottom step. "No wonder she's not answering!" Mason says aloud to himself, as though he figures she must have just somehow forgot her stuff on the step or something? However, when he clicks on the phone to look through it, for whatever reason, he finds that the phone's wallpaper is a blurry, quickly-snapped photo of the berserker who went after her! OH SHIT! I love how smart she is-- she must have gotten the picture as fast as she could and set it as her wallpaper, since she knew SOMEONE would eventually come after her. She is brilliant in the face of terror! Understandably, Mason is like, "What the fuck?" when he sees the photo, riiiiight before the berserker stomps on up to where Mason is standing. Since he's not yet clued into the supernatural, his first instinct is that this is just some punk in a costume, but before he can question it, he is promptly knocked out with a punch to the head! NOOO! That is precious cargo! (That is basically my reaction to any of my favorites getting hurt, which is pretty much every character except for Kate and Peter, let's be real here.)

Seinabo Sey's "Hard Time" is playing at a very loud volume in what I'm assuming is Peter's car (or maybe he stole Derek's, who knows with this guy?), and Malia seems to be grooving to it, until Peter gets annoyed and asks if she minds if he turns it down. To Peter's slight credit, he does seem to at least somewhat care about Malia, or at least wants her to like him, in much the same way that he cares about Derek and wants him to like him. That isn't to say that he's not going to be horrible to either of them (because he is, both in how his plans get them both hurt, and how his plans threaten the life of one of their best friends), but he does seem to at least be putting in the minimum amount of effort to get on her good side. That might be the only good thing I have to say about Peter, tbh! He notices how nervous Malia looks, and asks her if she's worried about Stiles, but she replies that she's worried about everyone.

LOOK AT THAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! We went from "Hell yes I would leave you all for dead" to "I am seriously concerned for my alpha's well-being and that of my pack." Malia Hale does not get enough credit, you guys. "Do I need to be worried about YOU?" Peter asks in response. "We have to go through the berserkers to get to Kate, and we have to go through Kate to get to Scott and Kira, and trust me, it's going to get messy." Malia reminds him that in her pack, they don't kill people, but Peter, after swallowing down his obvious distaste for the Scott McCall philosophy, decides to plant the seeds of murder by asking her if she really thinks Scott wouldn't kill to protect Kira. "Would you kill to save Stiles?" Although Malia does seem to be torn--because who wouldn't end up killing if it absolutely came down to it to save their loved ones?--the way she turns away from her biological father and chooses to remain silent as she stares up at the moon seems to suggest she's starting to see what Stiles is talking about when it comes to Peter being a bad guy. He asks her what's up, so Malia admits she's definitely feeling the full moon, but Peter assures her it's a good thing, because she's going to need all the extra power she can get.

Behind them, Braeden is clearly starting to get antsy, since the sun has just gone down, and she's currently transporting a one-month-old werewolf who is sharing a backseat with two humans who have no supernatural healing ability if he starts getting feral, so she anxiously looks back to make sure everyone is doing alright. Of course, that's when Liam, who is starting to get that sweaty, out-of-it look that is pretty characteristic of the rising moon's effect on werewolves, doubles over in pain. Stiles instinctively backs away from him, and Derek sees that Liam is anxiously clutching the triskelion in his clawed hand. "Whatever you're gonna teach me," Liam gasps at Derek as he pants and struggles to maintain control. He raises his head to reveal his golden eyes are glowing brightly and continues, "I think you better start!" OF COURSE EVERYTHING ALWAYS HAS TO GO WRONG AT ONCE.

I seriously loved this episode, and if you asked me what my favorite scene was, I would probably have at least ten I could list, but I think this one is hands-down #1 on that list. Kira is panting in short, shallow breaths as she leans against an obsidian boulder and gropes at her chest where berserker!Scott stabbed her earlier, pulling away to reveal her hand and her chest is literally soaked in blood. She's clearly in a lot of pain, and is having a hard time not openly sobbing. Suddenly, Noshiko's form appears next to her and calls out, "It's alright to cry. It's no measure of your strength." I'm not sure if this is some sort of pain/near-death hallucination induced by her body's survival instincts, or if this isn't just some sort of legitimate ancient kitsune power, like she has the ability to astral project herself into Kira's consciousness or something. I am still convinced that she has one of her kaikens hidden away somewhere, so it should be possible! Besides, we know that Noshiko isn't a thunder kitsune, so maybe she's a spirit kitsune or something that allows her to have such an ability. Either way, it's totally helpful for her, both from an informative standpoint, and from a moral support standpoint.

KIRA: [cries] "But I'm not strong. I need to get up. I need to tell them."
NOSHIKO: [calm] "How do you know you can't?"
KIRA: [sniffles] "Because I'm not healing. You told me why I never get sick. And you said I'd learn to heal."
NOSHIKO: [smiles gently] "Then learn!"
KIRA: [frustrated and scared] "I can't! I don't know how. How to start, or what to do."
NOSHIKO: "I told you once that foxes and wolves tend not to get along. But, they're similar creatures, aren't they? You've seen wolves heal. How do they do it?"
KIRA: [starts to nod off from blood loss]
NOSHIKO: [firmer] "Kira! How do they trigger it?"
KIRA: [thinks about it] "Pain. With pain!"
Oh my god, Kira is making me cry SO MUCH, even though this is like, the third time I've seen this episode at this point-- Arden Cho was literally PERFECT IN EVERY WAY this week! And the proud smile Noshiko gives Kira when she finally figures it out seriously just warms my heart so much! Noshiko might not be as ovaries-to-the-wall as Mama Argent was for Allison, but they do have similarly aggressive, no-bullshit philosophies, don't they? And as gruff as they are, all they ever wanted for their daughters was for them to be able to take care of themselves using their natural gifts. I am seriously so in love with this show. Also, I like that Kira, as a born supernatural who just recently went through the kitsune/human puberty that allowed her to access the majority of her powers, still has to learn how to do things that come easily even to bitten werewolves like Scott and Liam. So, Kira musters up all the strength that she can and makes a fist, before she forcefully uses it to punch the nearby wall of obsidian. She continues punching until she finally breaks the onyx-colored glass into several shards, and picks up the biggest piece so she can grip it in her hand to cut open her palms. She keeps squeezing until she risks losing even more blood, until finally, she looks up, and her eyes flare that fabulous orange-pink. YESSS KIRA YESSS I AM SO PROUD OF YOU GIRL.

(via teenwolf)
Meanwhile, Lydia has just stumbled across Mason, who is passed out on the floor of the basement where she and Mason were both presumably dragged by the berserkers. She starts to shake him to wake him up, and when he finally does, he immediately groans in pain and grabs his bloody temple from where he was knocked out. "Yeah, that's probably gonna hurt a lot," Lydia replies, before Mason starts recounting what just happened to him. "There was this guy! Huge! Really huge! He had a... skull, on his face," Mason rambles, and Lydia, of course, is just looking at him, like, "Oh, you sweet summer child," though she does admit that she saw it, too. Mason starts pawing around his pockets, probably to let Liam in on what happened (Which, poor Liam! He tried to protect Mason from all this, and he ends up getting attacked by the same monster that has been scaring Liam shitless for at least a week now) and realizes that the berserker took his phone, which Lydia figures was the point, so they couldn't tell anyone what is going on.

"Well, what's he gonna do to us?" Mason asks fearfully, but of course, who really knows for sure? Nobody. Lydia agrees, but assumes that whatever it's planning, it certainly does NOT want them leaving that school. UGH, I WISH THEY KNEW WHAT PETER DID TO CHRIS. Because if they did, Lydia would be able to figure out that Peter was also behind this in, like, seconds, which, let's be honest, is probably why he arranged to keep Lydia out of it-- because he knows first-hand just how smart and intuitive she is, and knows she'd be the first to blow his cover. Luckily for her, Peter does have a soft spot for Lydia, which is probably why he instructed the berserker not to hurt her. Mason realizes quickly that she keeps calling the berserker "it" instead of "he/him," and seems to already be getting the impression that Lydia knows way more about it than he does. Can Mason just join the pack already? He's SO perceptive and intuitive, too, it just makes sense, honestly. The berserker starts to growl from somewhere nearby, which terrifies them enough to hop to their feet and hide behind the corner. Mason manages to peek around into the other hall to get a look at the berserker, but it seems to be lurking out of sight to be at the maximum level of frightening. "What is that thing?" Mason asks, and I was SO HOPING Lydia would give him the scoop, but instead, she just cryptically replies, "Not human." Totally helpful!

Back on the road on their way to La Iglesia, Liam is covered in sweat and is panting heavily in his effort to keep a lid on his wolf, but you can it's taking everything he has to maintain. "Liam, you with me?" Derek asks firmly, as Liam just kind of glares at him, all, "What do you think?" "We have a mantra that we use. You repeat it, and you focus on the words. It's like meditating. You say the words until you feel control coming back to you." Stiles looks down at Liam's hands, which still have his claws out, and he desperately clenches them into fists. Liam asks him what the words are, so Derek explains the reasoning behind the "Alpha, beta, omega" mantra. "Okay, look at the triskelion. See the symbol? I have a tattoo on my back, it's the same thing. Each spiral means something." When Stiles repeats the words, Derek reiterates the whole "you can rise to one or fall to another" philosophy that he taught Erica, Boyd, and Isaac alllll the way back in season 2. "Betas can become alphas, and alphas can become betas," Derek and Stiles explain together, and when Liam asks if an alpha can become an omega (which we know is true), I got SUPER afraid that this was some foreshadowing that Scott was somehow not going to be an alpha anymore? Which is absolutely devastating to me, tbh.

"All you have to do is say the three words, and with each one you tell yourself you're getting calmer, more in control," Derek continues, before encouraging him to begin. Liam starts reciting the words, but Derek tells him to slow down and try again, and he frustratedly tries to do what he's told. Derek is actually really great with him, and tells him he's doing great while Liam pauses to crack his neck anxiously, before reminding him that he's supposed to be getting calmer with each word. When Liam begins again, his eyes start to flash gold again, and his voice gets that kind of deep, almost demonic tone that Malia's voice took when she was having the same problem during the last full moon. Needless to say, this does NOTHING to reassure Derek and Stiles that they're not going to get themselves slaughtered. "Ahh, Derek, I don't think that powerful talisman of self-control is working!" Stiles stammers, while Derek desperately tries to rein Liam in.

Unfortunately for both of them, Liam's fangs are out now, which means his fragile grip on his self-control is quickly going out the window. Derek yells at Liam to say it again, but Liam is so overcome with full-moon-rage that he roars in Derek's face and lunges for him, causing Braeden to temporarily lose control of the van, since the force of Liam pulling against his restraints fucked with the balance of the vehicle. Stiles has shoved himself into the farthest corner of the van, as far away from Liam as he can get, leaving poor, human Derek to fend for himself against Liam's unruly ass. Liam manages to use his anger to break through one of his handcuffs, just as Stiles and Malia predicted he would, and Derek frantically grabs onto Liam's free arm to keep him from moving around. Braeden calls out to him and asks what the fuck she should do, but they're too close to stop now, so Stiles just shouts that she should drive faster. OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT.

When we return from the break, we pick up right where we left off, with Derek desperately trying to hold Liam back and yelling at Braeden to keep going. Of course, Liam totally breaks through his OTHER handcuff and immediately wraps a hand around Derek's neck as Derek tries his best to break it and keep himself from getting too injured. Stiles finally decides to help Derek hold him back, while Braeden shouts back that they're almost there. THANK GOD. Meanwhile, Malia and Peter are still driving in front of them in relative silence, while Peter looks at his teenage daughter in concern as she closes her eyes and breathes deep, clearly feeling the moon to a significant degree. Peter asks her if she's still learning to stay in control, but Malia replies that she's still learning to stay HUMAN.

This time, Peter can't hold back his disapproval at the true alpha philosophies he's filled his darling daughter's head with. "That's exactly your problem," Peter says with a dramatic sigh. "Scott has you thinking that control and humanity are the same for us. Allow me to give you some fatherly advice-- if you're gonna face something as animal as a berserker and try to win, you need to focus on the animal inside of you. You'll need every ounce of ferocity and savageness you can muster." In a way, I don't COMPLETELY- we see later that Scott only really gets truly connected to his full true alpha powers when he accepts that he is, in fact, a werewolf, and not a human who happens to have some wolf-like abilities when he needs them. Still, Peter is convinced that as monsters, they need to be monstrous to survive and be the top-dog apex predators, when the McCall Pack has been proving all this time that it's not necessary when you truly believe in being good people who stop bad people from doing bad things. And, judging by Malia's glare at her newly-revealed father, I'm guessing she doesn't 100% agree with him either.

Back in the transport van, Liam is still struggling to break free from Derek and Stiles' grips so he can rip their throats out, but they're still managing to do a decent job at keeping themselves safe. "I really don't think 'alpha, beta, omega' is resonating with him!" Stiles snits anxiously, so Derek sarcastically asks him if he knows of any other mantras that could work, even though he totally knows of another one, too. Stiles' eyes widen in realization when he remembers that Satomi's pack also has their own mantra to help with control. "Liam!" Stiles shouts. "What three things cannot long be hidden?" Liam looks over at him briefly, before returning to his attempts to ravage Derek, so Stiles reaches over and pulls on him to bring his focus back on Stiles and what he's trying to do and repeats himself. "What three things cannot long be hidden? What three things?" Liam scrunches his face up in concentration, and after a long moment, he gasps, "The sun, the moon, the truth." 

YAY LIAM. Stiles praises him for pulling himself out of it and instructs him to repeat it again, which he does while he slowly lets go of Derek's throat and pulls away from them. His face is no longer in beta-mode, just his fangs and claws are out at this point, and as he repeats the mantra, he slowly starts to put those away too. I AM SO PROUD OF HIM! I knew forcing him to get it together so he could help them out would ultimately teach him control, even if, like Malia, he's not 100% in control yet. I also like how, like Derek, Liam couldn't really get himself under control with the triskelion/"alpha, beta, omega" mantra, probably because, like Derek, Liam could probably sense that it wasn't a legit magical artifact, and so the placebo effect didn't really work with him.

Conversely, he KNOWS that Satomi's mantra works, because Brett and the rest of them all have such great control over their wolves that they even have the ability to suppress their scents. Anyway, Braeden calls out Derek's name again to get an update on their situation, but Derek assures her that they're all good now. Stiles is so relieved when Liam completely returns to his human form that he he looks like he's about to pee his pants, and he claps Derek on the shoulder affectionately as he leans back against the wall and catches his breath. Stiles should literally open a school for newbie werecreatures, tbh! He successfully helped Scott gain control in like, two full moons, and same with Malia and now Liam as well! Plus, he's been seen to anchor people like Lydia, too, even though she's not even a werewolf. It's a pretty neat talent of his!

ANYWAY, Liam managed to pull himself back just in time, too, because both vehicles have just pulled up to La Iglesia in preparation for their imminent supernatural brawl. "I can't believe I did it!" Liam says in disbelief, and he actually LAUGHS because he's so impressed and happy to have finally learned how to werewolf. "For a minute there, I thought I was going to tear the two of you apart!" BAHAHAHA. Stiles: "Yeah, that would have made for an awkward trip home, so thanks!" Aw, Stiles! I think Liam is finally growing on him, don't you? Like, Stiles only really likes a handful or two of people, although once you get into that group, you're in it for life, and Stiles will love you forever. It took a while, but I think Liam is finally nudging his way onto that list. YAY! Maybe now he'll cool it on the mean comments? Anyway, Derek seems hopeful, and asks Liam if he thinks he'll be able to bring the same level of control and strength by helping them fight in La Iglesia. Liam flicks out his claws in answer, which seems to impress Stiles. "Alright, we might actually be able to do this?" He gives a look to Derek, like, "Look how well we did!" as Derek makes his way out of the back of the van to get his weapons.

Of course, because everything always goes wrong, the second Derek opens the door, he's grabbed by a berserker (NOT Scott, thankfully! I don't think he could handle the guilt of seriously wounding Kira AND Derek) and pulled out of the back of the van. The berkserker throws him against a nearby stone wall and stabs him in the chest multiple times with his claw daggers. NOOOOOOO!!!!! Was that an order on Kate's part? Or Peter's? I never thought Peter would be cool with doing something like that to Derek, especially when he has nothing to gain from it. Maybe Kate figured out that Peter left Chris for dead and decided on a little tit for tat? Either way, I HATE IT SO MUCH. Anyway, Braeden, who is FURIOUS that her man just got stabbed, immediately starts to fire her shotgun at the berserker, which, as expected, does little to slow it down. Stiles and Liam cover their eyes and duck back into the van to stay out of the gunfire until Braeden manages to chase it away, probably so it can go warn Kate that they have company.

Everyone rushes around Derek to see if he's okay, and its looking pretty bad-- he's coughing up blood and can barely catch his breath, so I'm guessing they hit a lung and caused it to collapse. To Peter's credit, he does seem horrified, though we all know that he's a good actor, so he could very well just be still playing them in every way. "How bad is it?" Peter asks gravely, but Derek gasps in response, "I'm fine! I'm fine! Just get to Scott. Just find him! We'll be right behind you!" OH MY GOD OH MY GOD THE SCEREK SHIP SAILS ITSELF. They love each other so much! KILL ME NOW. Everyone is horrified, naturally, even Malia and Liam, who still don't know Derek very well, but know that he's a good guy who has helped them a lot. Stiles even looks particularly concerned for him, and though the fact that I don't ship Sterek is pretty well known around these parts, I can't deny that the two don't have a good (albeit aggressive and antagonizing) friendship. He shouts at them to go, and after Peter gives him a look that seems to be both sad and reluctant to leave his nephew to die out here, he still skedaddles into the temple. Stiles hangs back a moment longer, also clearly hesitant to leave Derek alone, but when Derek rasps, "Hey! Hey. Save him!", Stiles realizes that they've got a job to do, and eventually follows everyone else inside, leaving Braeden outside to care for/defend Derek.

Inside, Peter is leading them around the upper level of the church, which definitely sets off my shadiness-radar, because how would Peter know his way around La Iglesia unless he had been there before? Back outside, Derek is still groaning in pain, because this is probably the first time he's been THIS injured without his superior healing abilities to take care of it in minutes/hours, and Braeden looks seriously concerned about him. Derek suddenly manages to laugh a weak laugh and smiles as he points out, "Lydia was right." NOOOOO! You are NOT allowed to be this cool with dying, Derek! YOU CUT THAT PASSIVELY SUICIDAL SHIT OUT RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Meanwhile, Peter and the kids are all running through the halls, until Peter eventually stops them and insists that they need to figure out where they are before they focus on finding Scott and Kira. Before they can even get started figuring out their location, Stiles' phone goes off, and he instantly pulls it out of his pocket. "How do I even have service--?" Stiles mutters under his breath, before telling them to hold on and scampering off to take it, because it's his dad. Peter's face is pretty priceless, actually, when he glares at Malia and Liam, like, "What the fuck does he think he's doing? We're kind of on a rescue mission here?" The general consensus on Tumblr is that Stiles is once again using some kind of unconscious magic to make his phone have service? I don't know, as much as I would like Stiles to be something supernatural too, I'm not sure how much I buy into this yet. On the one hand, all these random instances of weird stuff happening are too frequent to be a coincidence, but I'm not sure it means it's STILES who is doing it. I don't know. I don't know. We need more information, tbh.

ANYWAY, Stiles answers the phone and immediately acknowledges that he knows Sheriff is angry, but Sheriff just grumbles, "Oh, I'm BEYOND angry! I have reached a level of fury you could not POSSIBLY comprehend!" BAHAHA, oh Sheriff! Stiles assures him that he can ground him when he gets back, but Sheriff points out that it's more like he's going to "hobble" him, before dropping the tough-dad act and asking him if he's okay. Stiles is like, "Well, I'm in the basement of an abandoned Aztec temple in Mexico to rescue my brother and dear friend from a homicidal werejaguar and her legion of berserkers ON A FULL MOON, so...." Sheriff demands to know what he can do to help, so Stiles informs him that they haven't heard back from Lydia, and Mason, who was supposed to go find her, ALSO hasn't returned their calls, so he's pretty sure they're in trouble at the high school.

"I don't know, Dad, I don't know what I'm doing, you know? I'm just-I'm just trying to save my friends." Sheriff promises to get Mason and Lydia, and urges him to go find Scott and Kira and save his friends. Before they hang up, Stiles adds, "Dad, if it's one of the berserkers at the school, you're gonna need firepower. A lot." He then hangs up and leaves to join the pack + Peter, just as Liam asks what the fuck they should do, now. Malia suddenly sees something behind Liam and immediately panics before tackling our beta bae and yelling "DUCK!" just as a berserker appears out of nowhere. The four immediately tuck-tail and run away as the berserker gives chase behind them.

Outside, Braeden takes a quick look around before asking Derek if he can still pull a trigger, and when he nods in confirmation, she pulls a handgun out of the waistband of her jeans and hands it to him to use to defend himself, if necessary. "Stay with me," Braeden insists. "You're going to be okay!" Derek just laughs weakly again, because she seems to be reassuring herself as much as she's trying to reassure him. "It's a mortal wound, and right now, I'm feeling pretty mortal," he whispers. She once again emphasizes that she's not going to let him die, just as the sound of a berserker roar is heard in the background. Braeden slowly rises to her feet and grabs her shotgun, just as Derek huffs another laugh and quips that she should probably concentrate on saving her own ass.

(via teenwolf)
Braeden sighs and runs a couple yards away to the edge of one of the many stone walls in this area, where she hops up and peers around a corner, shotgun at the ready. She continues panting anxiously as she takes cover again, and it reminds me so much of the first time we met her, alllll the way back in "Tattoo," when she took on the entirety of the Alpha Pack armed with nothing but a wooden mop handle. SHE IS SO BADASS. She looks behind her to check on Derek, who seems to be hanging in there, before she hears yet another roar (this time, it sounds more like Kate, I think) and peeks around the corner again. Sure enough, through the evening fog, Braeden can see a berserker, accompanied by Kate, slowly marching toward where she's hiding. Braeden grimaces in anger that she's going to have to do this, before steeling herself and pumping her shotgun.

Back in Beacon Hills, Lydia and Mason are in a similar situation, where they're taking cover behind a shelf in the basement of the high school while they hide from the left-behind berserker. Lydia listens closely and points out that she can't hear it, before she urges him to come on and follow her. Mason, though, is scared out of his wits and immediately stops her. "There's only one way out on this side of the basement," Mason reminds her, though Lydia is quite aware, thank you very much. "But, if we don't get out of here, SOMEONE'S GOING TO DIE." Of course, Mason has no idea how Lydia would know that, because he doesn't know that she's literally a harbinger of death, but Lydia just vaguely insists that she just knows. She figures they should at least LOOK to make sure the berserker isn't blocking the exit, so Mason sighs and reluctantly sticks his head out to check and see where it is. I'm guessing that berserkers have enhanced hearing, too, because it immediately stomps over to them while Mason is looking, as though it overheard their conversation. I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ALL THESE CREATURES, UGH. "Yeah, he's blocking it," Mason snits, as he and Lydia reflexively fling themselves backward against the wall.

"Go, go, go, go!" Peter yells, as he leads the group of teen monsters through La Iglesia, into a big, open room filled with destroyed pews. Malia throws Kira's katana to Stiles and orders him to go find Scott and Kira while they hold off the berserkers. Stiles scampers away, and Liam, Malia and Peter split up to each take a hiding space, just as berserker!Scott catches up to them and smashes through a Roman column on his way to throw down. Liam and Malia brace themselves for a fight, and Malia's lip twitches as she growls the cutest little growl while the berserker just stands there and grunts at them.

Meanwhile, Braeden is outside shooting at Kate and the remaining berserker, which pisses them off so much that they start RUNNING toward her. Of course, she runs out of ammo (which just goes to show how stressed she is, because she was the one who told Derek not keeping track of your shots makes you look stupid) and is forced to drop her shotgun in favor of the two extra handguns she has tucked in her waistband. It still doesn't slow them down, though, and the berserker is easily able to knock her guns out of her hands and hold her in a choke-hold against one of the buildings. Kate then struts up to them, in full jaguar face, and purrs, "How much did they pay you?" Braeden struggles to break the berserker's hold on her as she rasps, "Way more than you're worth!"

BRAEDEN, I LOVE YOU SO DAMN MUCH. Kate just laughs around her feline fangs, but the smile is quickly wiped off her face when three huge SUVs packed with people pull up to where they're standing. The berserker quickly drops Braeden in favor of focusing on the new threat, and we can see that THE CALAVERAS ARE HERE AND READY TO FIGHT TOO! Severo and one of the other men call out orders to shoot and kill Kate and her berserker as they all start shooting at her with assault rifles. HOLY SHIT!

As if this weren't badass enough, another SUV pulls out, revealing that Jordan Parrish and CHRIS FUCKING ARGENT are also in attendance, both of whom pull out their own guns and start shooting at Kate and her berserker, too, forcing them to run scared from the swarm of bullets flying their way. I CAN'T BELIEVE CHRIS LITERALLY GOT IMPALED LESS THAN 24 HOURS AGO AND STILL MANAGED TO SHOW UP FOR THIS FIGHT! Chris Argent is the fucking BEST. To make this amazing turn of events even better, Araya Calavera struts out of an SUV with this hilariously awesome pistol in her hand, totally ready to just end this puta gringa once and for all.

(via heydylanobrien)
Inside, Stiles has made his way into the lower level of the temple, and is rushing around the hallways calling out for Scott and peering around with his flashlight. I still can't believe that Stiles is literally running around La Iglesia, armed only with a flashlight and a magical katana he doesn't even know how to use! Stiles is an amazing friend. I LOVE THIS PACK. Stiles calls out for Kira next, and rushes around a corner, waving the light around as he goes. He stops in his tracks when he hears a noise, and quickly moves the light over to reveal a bedgraggled (but mostly healed!) Kira hovering in the corner. Stiles can't even try to repress his sigh of relief, and instantly asks her if she's okay as he hands her her sword, but she's most certainly NOT. "It's Scott! Stiles, it's Scott!" Naturally, Stiles has NO idea what she's talking about, so Kira continues. "The berserker, it's him! Kate did it. [...] She made him into one of them, I don't know how, but it's him. And if they don't know it, they could kill him." THIS IS THE WORST. Stiles' eyes grow wide in alarm when he realizes that Lydia isn't here with them because she, as a banshee, would be able to predict that he was going to be killed by his own friends.

To make matters worse, Peter, Liam, and Malia are all fighting against berserker!Scott, and quite frankly, they're all getting their asses kicked. I also don't understand why none of them are in full wolf/coyote face, because wouldn't they want to channel all of their power into this fight? The only explanation that I can think of is that Liam and Malia are afraid of going totally out of control and killing EVERYBODY, and Peter wants to keep his scary wolf face a secret 'til his smackdown with Scott, but it still doesn't really make THAT much sense. They've barely shown ANY wolf/coyote face all season, except for Kate's, so they couldn't have used up their prosthetics budget THAT much, could they have? Anyway, Scott is easily taking them all on, and throwing them all across the room, and it makes my heart hurt so damn much, ugh. At one point, Liam gets a good look at the chocolate brown eyes behind the berserker mask, and I could have sworn that Liam recognized them, and maybe just brushed it off because of what Peter said earlier. Which, of course, is exactly why he said it in the first place, because he WANTED the kids to try to kill berserker!Scott no matter what.

The firefight against Kate and her remaining berserker is still raging on outside, as the two desperately try to evade it. Despite the large volume of bullets being fire at them, they don't seem to be hitting them that much-- the full moon really puts the hunters at a disadvantage, I'd imagine. Derek is still leaning against that same stone wall near the fight, and is struggling to stay conscious as he tries to keep an eye on the fight. The berserker turns toward the gunfire at roars a mighty roar at them as the hunters advance upon them and take new cover nearby. Chris and Parrish shoot from around the same corner where Braeden was hiding earlier, but some of the Calaveras get too ballsy and get too close, allowing the berserker to easily slaughter him with its claws. Kate hides behind the prison transport vehicle to heal a bit before going back into the fray, but luckily for her, her berserker is still fighting for her and killing as many hunters as it can reach. Braeden finally manages to get out of the way and back to Derek, who is fading fast. She shakes him and whispers, "Derek?" which seems to wake him up just enough for him to smile a sweet smile at her. Then, his eyes fall shut, and his body goes limp, and Braeden immediately starts to cry when she realizes he's dead/dying. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. THIS ISN'T HAPPENING. (No, really, it isn't happening-- would I ever lie to you?)

The berserker is still blocking the exit in Beacon Hills High School's basement, and growls menacingly at the kids while Lydia tries her best to improvise a plan to get them the fuck out of there. She manages to find a container full of baseball bats inexplicably located nearby, and picks up an aluminum one as she examines it in her hands. YES! Channel your inner Stiles, Lydia! Of course, Mason is looking at her like she's lost her damn mind, and asks her if she's really serious, to which she replies, "Very." "A baseball bat? Against THAT GUY? Thing? Whatever it is?" Mason asks hysterically, but Lydia doesn't have time for his nervous breakdown at the moment. "My friends are in trouble. And so is Liam, your best friend. They need me! I'm going for it." Mason quickly processes this information while Lydia slaps the baseball bat in her hand and struts over to the berserker. "And yes, with a baseball bat," Lydia mutters under her breath. LOL, oh how the turntables! Remember when Lydia said to Stiles, and I quote, "You REALLY need to find something better than a baseball bat?" Guess when you're trapped you've gotta take what weapons you can get. Before she can rear up and start beating the berserker, though, Mason runs past her, wooden baseball bat in hand, and screams at the top of his lungs as he lunges for the berserker and starts going to town on it. OH MY GOD, MASON! MOST LOYAL FRIEND AWARD GOES TO THIS GUY. I mean, seriously, he heard that his BFF was in danger, and he didn't even question it, he just grabbed himself a weapon and went for it.

(via teenwolf)
Unfortunately, the berserker quickly punches him with a right hook that sends Mason across the room, but it's the thought that counts! Lydia leaps toward the berserker with her own bat when she sees Mason taken out, and manages to get in a few good hits of her own before she, too, is backhanded so hard that she flies across the room and lands on top of Mason. "I thought you said it wanted to keep us here, not hurt us!" Mason groans as he tries to sit up. "I think it changed its mind!" Lydia whispers shrilly in response. Thankfully, a manly voice calls out, "Excuse me! Catch!" and throws something at the berserker, who catches it easily. When the berserker looks down, he sees that it's a claymore mine, specifically the SAME claymore mine of the Mute's that almost blew up Sheriff and Derek in "The Benefactor!"

SHERIFF STILINSKI HAS ARRIVED TO SAVE THE DAY! Thankfully, Mason and Lydia figured out what was going on quickly enough to get back in their hiding spot, as Sheriff does the same around the corner, before the mine goes off. The explosion is HUGE, and when the dust settles, the three walk over to make sure that everyone is okay. Sheriff looks down on the floor, where he finds the bear skull and the berserker claws lying broken on top of a pile of dust. I have a theory about berserkers and why they died differently than the "berserker" that was Scott died when he broke out of it, but I'm gonna save it for the end.

"It was after me," a dust-covered Lydia says aloud as she processes what the fuck has just happened. "It wanted me to stay in Beacon Hills. I think this is all some sort of distraction." Sheriff correctly guesses that it's because she knew they were trying to kill someone, and Lydia hesitantly nods in confirmation. Mason, who still has no idea what the fuck is happening, or why everyone, including his best friend Liam, seems to know way more about all of this than he does, asks who they were trying to kill. Lydia sighs and gives Sheriff the most painfully sad look in the WORLD before reluctantly replying, "Scott."

Back in La Iglesia, berserker!Scott is still slo-mo fighting against Liam, Malia, and Peter, and though they seem to be holding their own, thanks to their increased healing and strength, they're definitely not doing anything to slow Scott down whatsoever. Also, I'm really proud of Liam for facing his fear and going against the berserkers to help defend his friends! He is so strong and brave, he doesn't get nearly enough credit! Malia gets thrown to the ground, but Peter and Liam both get in some good punches before Peter tackles berserker!Scott and knocks him onto the floor. Peter finds Scott's claw-bone dagger and throws it to Malia with the instruction to kill him with it by aiming for the skull. Peter then joins Liam in double-teaming berserker!Scott and pinning him against a support column so Malia can make the killing blow. "Kill it! Kill it now!" Peter shouts, as Malia holds the dagger above her head and jumps to stab it in berserker!Scott's bear skull mask. Just as I'm starting to really fear for Scott's life, Kira and Stiles finally arrive, and Stiles yells, "WAIT! WAIT! MALIA, WAIT!" and Kira slices the dagger in half with the katana before she can kill Scott with it. Malia looks at Kira in confusion, but Stiles quickly explains that the berserker is Scott, and Liam is horrified as he looks at the berserker's eyes and sees that, yup, totally Scott, just as Malia does the same. Unfortunately, they're too busy having their minds blown about this revelation to notice Peter's furious glare as he continues to restrain Scott.

(via teenwolf)
Berserker!Scott gets the advantage, though, when he uses his immense strength to knock Liam and Peter together like rag dolls and toss them to the floor. He punches Malia in the face and she lands with a groan on the floor, before he turns to Liam and Kira. "Scott? Scott, don't!" Kira yells, and Stiles tries to appeal to Scott's humanity by reminding him that it's him, his BFF and brother-in arms. Of course, that doesn't resonate with berserker!Scott at all, because berserkers seem to start losing their humanity the longer that they're berserkers until it's gone completely. He punches Stiles in the face and knocks him onto the floor as well, before turning back to Liam and grabbing him in a choke-hold against the wall. Liam's feet desperately try to scrabble against the floor for some leverage, but he's too far off the ground, so Liam looks into Scott's eyes and whimpers the most heartbreaking "Scott?" I have ever heard in my entire time watching this show. I AM DEAD. Across the room, Peter is smirking, because this is what Peter wanted-- if the pack couldn't kill Scott, then he wants Scott to ruin his status as someone who doesn't kill by killing his own betas.

Outside, Araya is standing around, holding a silver knife gripped tightly in her fist, and she smiles as she watches her hunters advancing toward Kate and her goon. (Sorry, I'm getting really tired of typing out the word berserker, you guys.) Chris is still peering around the corner of his hide-out, confused when he doesn't see any sight of his sister anywhere. Nearby, Braeden is still weeping as she cups Derek's lifeless face in her hands and turns it so she can make sure he's really dead. She then takes a deep breath and steels herself, knowing that she needs to return to the fight, and probably also wanting to get revenge on Kate for killing her boo. Meanwhile, one of the Calavera hunters is slowly creeping around, his rifle aimed and ready to fire if necessary, as he tries to find Kate. All of a sudden, she roars and jumps out from behind the prison transport vehicle where she was hiding, and lunges on him even despite the fact that he hits her in the abdomen/chest with at least two shots. She slashes at him so hard that he falls onto the ground, and near another ATV, a hunter who was also knocked on the ground is pulled by the ankle under the vehicle as he screams in terror. DAMN!

Chris and another hunter who looks suspiciously like Agent Douchenozzle (Which, by the way-- where the fuck has he been? Wasn't Scott supposed to read him in when he got back?) start shooting at Kate as well, though it barely slows her down. Braeden, still trying to suppress her tears, and Jordan both join the fold as well, and soon another hail of bullets is flying Kate's way. She roars ferociously at them and turns to run toward La Iglesia, where she catches up with her berserker. Chris seems to be losing steam pretty quickly (which makes sense, because I'm pretty sure he's been running on fumes and residual adrenaline ever since Parrish rescued him) and grips at his side as if in pain as he continues shooting with one hand. Chris is a king among badasses, f'realsies.

Two of the Calavera hunters gets their asses completely slaughtered by the berserker, who just goes to town stabbing and slashing at them with his long, sharp claws, while Kate is maiming a third with her own claws a couple yards away. Jordan takes a couple shots at the berserker from behind the SUV, and when he does absolutely nothing to stop them, he takes cover again and turns back to Chris and shouts, "They're not going down! Nothing's getting through that armor, and I'm running out of ammo!" Once again, Chris leans up against the wall and grimaces in pain as he applies pressure to his wound, and realizes that they need to end this battle FAST. He drops his assault rifle and pulls out his trusty 58-E Desert Eagle, before removing the clip and fishing out a bullet from his pocket. When he pops it in the chamber, we can see that the tip is clear and full of a bright yellow liquid. OMG I KNEW THAT YELLOW WOLFSBANE WAS GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THE FINALE! Hell fucking yeah!

Okay, I know that earlier, I said that Kira's scene with her mother's spirit/hallucination was my #1 favorite scene of the episode, but that was a lie, because it's actually TIED with this scene right here. We return to the basement of the temple, where berserker!Scott still has Liam in a choke-hold off the floor, and Stiles, Kira, and Malia are staring at him in fright, terrified of what could happen. (We can't see Peter, but I'm guessing he's probably looking pretty aroused, tbh.) Berserker!Scott raises his clawed hand as he prepares to make the killing blow, hauntingly similar to his nightmare-dreamscape, when he did the same thing with the Mute's tomahawk, but Liam makes his final, desperate plea that literally made me burst into tears. "Scott! Scott! Listen! Listen! Listen! You're not a monster!" Scott stops what he's doing and stares at Scott, while everyone else looks at them in awe. "You're a werewolf! Like me!" I AM DEAD. I AM SO DEAD. "The Benefactor" was definitely in my Top 3 episodes of this season, and it was that scene at the end with Liam, where Scott assured him that he wasn't a monster, and that being a werewolf like him was okay, which allowed both Liam AND Scott to more fully accept their lycanthropy, that made me love it so much. So, seeing that quote reversed and used by Liam to bring Scott out of his berserker-state was absolutely perfect to me in every way.

(via teenwolf)
A lot of people were bummed because they thought it should have been Stiles who brought Scott back, like Scott brought him back in "De-Void," and honestly? I totally get it, and I would have been happy if that happened. But to me, Liam ultimately being the one to get through to him it is what makes the most sense-- like we've been told before, berserkers are cut off from their humanity, and over time, they eventually lose it completely when it's overtaken by the animal spirit, so trying to appeal to his human side is not going to work. However, I don't think werewolves, and especially not (true) alphas, are meant to be berserkers, in the same way that they told Nogistiles that he couldn't be a wolf AND a fox. So, Liam, as Scott's first and only beta that he turned himself, and who has only ever been in Scott's pack, was the best person to try to remind him that he is a WEREWOLF, not a monster, just like Scott taught Liam that he's a werewolf, not a monster, and that's totally okay. It was that alpha-beta relationship that is what ultimately brought Scott back, and I love it so fucking much I'm about thisclose to crying again.

ANYWAY, Scott's eyes go from being cold and emotionless to confused and concerned, and Liam just continues to stare him in the eyes as he nods encouragingly, like, "Yes, what I said is true. You're my alpha, you're not a berserker. You're Scott McCall." Scott is clearly struggling through an internal battle right now, between the mindless, violence-monster of the berserker and the truest of alphas, and he squeezes his eyes closed and shakes his head in an effort to get total control back. Stiles watches hopefully from his hiding place across the room as Scott slowly releases Liam and puts him back on his feet before tensing up and desperately trying to break out of his berserker form. Everyone gets to their feet and watches in awe (except for Peter, of course, because he's too busy glaring and sulking) as Scott comes back to himself, realizes he's covered in a berserker outfit, and immediately starts pawing at the bones and leather around his arms and shoulders. Finally, he grabs onto the skull over his face and pulls with all of his strength, causing a bright, golden light to appear as the skull fractures and eventually breaks open, revealing Scott's fully-wolfed-out face and blood-red eyes as he roars the mightiest roar. YES SCOTT YES YES YES! You said it yourself, Peter-- "You can't underestimate the simple, yet undeniable power of human love!" THE MCCALL PACK HAS SO MUCH LOVE, IT SURPASSES EVEN HUMAN LOVE TO SOMETHING MUCH STRONGER.

(via teenwolf)
Everyone is thrilled to see their alpha back in true form, but Scott just glares at Peter, because he's put together all the pieces that even Stiles hadn't even totally figured out yet. "You," Scott states with a scary, contained rage, which causes everyone to turn and look at Peter in confusion and apprehension; even Malia starts to glare at him and immediately backs away from him, clearly suspicious before she even hears what happens next. "The only one that knew as much as Argent about berserkers, about the nagual? YOU taught Kate. You helped her! All for power." MY HEART IS BURSTING WITH PRIDE FOR SCOTT MCCALL YA'LL. And people say that Scott isn't smart or analytical! Peter, however, is not so impressed. "For my family's power!" he yells at the top of his voice, as Malia glares at him in horror. "To be rightfully inherited by ME. Not usurped by some IDIOT teenage boy, so incorruptible he wouldn't shed the blood of his enemies even when justified!"

OKAY, OKAY, OKAY. HOLD UP, HOLD UP, HOLD UP. First of all, like Peter gives a fuck about his family? He killed his own niece for power, and gives me the impression that he instantly resents people who are more powerful than he is. Not to mention it seems like Laura was always meant to succeed Talia, so at most Peter would have been after her on the list of succession, but I would guess that he was quite a few names lower, if he was ever meant to be alpha at all. Plus, he was the one who talked Derek into giving up his alpha power, which seems to have resulted in the Hale alpha spark completely disappearing. Scott isn't a Hale alpha, he has his own alpha spark that HE created himself by virtue of being a true alpha. Basically, Peter's just a jealous child throwing a major, murderous tantrum. ANYWAY, back to the fight! "You don't deserve your power," Peter says in his scary, Deucalion-like wolf-voice. "Not power like this." OH YOU ARE SO ABOUT TO EAT YOUR WORDS, YOU DICK. In a hysterical nod to season 1, when Peter had his hilariously-bad CGI wolf-beast form, Peter starts cracking his neck as we finally see Peter's full beta-face, with blue eyes and gray skin that is a pretty good balance of the Demon Wolf and Peter's former alpha form. Still, I can't take Peter at all seriously because he is seriously an IRL cartoon character.

When Peter finishes transforming and roars at Scott, Malia doesn't even wait a full beat before roaring back at her father, her coyote teeth and eyes out, and straight-up lunging at him. Unfortunately, he still has all that questionably-obtained strength, and it's not difficult for him to shove her into a nearby wall. "I'm sorry, sweetheart," Peter lisps through his fangs. "We'll talk about this later." SEE WHAT I MEAN? HE'S NOT SCARY, HE'S JUST EMBARRASSING. He turns back to the kids, just as Kira starts flipping her sword around, and I have no doubt that she has no qualms about killing him where he stands, but Scott holds up an arm and uses his alpha voice to call her back.

Scott walks toward Peter, sneering at him, and makes it clear that their fight was between the two of them and no one else-- the former alpha, and his bitten progeny, who was turned without his consent and still ended up becoming a true alpha, surpassing his maker. "You were my beta first, Scott. With my bite that changed your life, and my bite that can end it," Peter growls, but Scott is not having his theatrics, tbh. "Then END IT, Peter!" Scott snaps. "Because you won't get another chance." THIS IS SO DRAMATIC AND BANANAS I AM SERIOUSLY STILL GETTING CHILLS. Peter roars at Scott, just as Scott roars at Peter, and the two leap into the air to lunge at each other. Which, of course, is when they cut to...

Outside La Iglesia, the Calaveras are still being slowly slaughtered by the lone berserker and Kate. Across the way, Braeden has reluctantly left Derek's body so she can continue shooting at them as well. She watches as Kate slits one of the hunters' throats as she reloads, and all of a sudden, Araya starts walking toward Kate with her hilariously shiny and small pistol. "You're next, Araya!" Kate sneers. "I'm coming to kill you next!" Araya isn't the slightest bit afraid, though, and just whips out the cattle-prod taser of which Kate used to be so fond as she retorts, "Come, La Loba! Let me show you how the Calaveras die!" Just as Kate crouches down to roar at her, they're both frozen in their tracks at the sound of a wolf howl. Not a werewolf howl, but a LEGIT WOLF HOWL. At first, for whatever reason, I thought the Desert Wolf had shown up for the fight, but what we get instead is SO MUCH BETTER. Braeden looks around for the source of the sound, like, "What the fuck?" but when she looks over at where she left Derek's body, it's gone! YESS YESS YESSSSS.

That's when this glorious black wolf comes hopping over the stone fence, and stops in front of her. Kate roars at it, and though I'm not sure who or what she's expecting, I know for a fact that it wasn't this. The black wolf flashes its BLUE EYES before it rushes straight for Kate, knocking her flat on her back and straight-up mauling her. YES IT'S DEREK! And honestly, I bet he's been waiting FOREVER to kick Kate's ass for what she did to his family. Braeden, Chris, Parrish, and Araya all watch in shock and confusion as Kate wails and wails as the wolf chows down on her. Honestly, I thought she was going to be killed by Derek, but in a way I'm kind of glad she didn't? More on that later. Kate finally manages to get away, crawling in the sand with her bloody, wounded hands, as the wolf growls at her from where it stands. She turns back, in human form, just in time to see the wolf slowly morph into DEREK FUCKING HALE'S GLORIOUS NAKED FORM. Braeden is seriously SO RELIEVED, and Parrish looks as though he can't believe what he just saw.

(via teenwolf)
Kate is completely in shock, however, and she insists that he was dead, but clearly, she was wrong. "No, I was evolving," Derek replies. "Something you'll never do." Kate's berserker immediately leaps toward Derek to defend Kate's honor or whatever, but nope, Derek's not here for that shit, either-- he just grabs the berserker's skull with his bare hands and yanks until it breaks into a golden light and showers the ground with dust, just like the Beacon Hills berserker. HOLY SHIT DEREK, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU. I am convinced that Derek is a true beta and no one can tell me otherwise, tbh. Kate realizes that she's well and truly fucked at this rate, with no berserkers to protect her, so she scrabbles as she tries to get up to her feet and limp to safety.

Chris, who is struggling to walk as well because of his own wounds, manages to make his way back to his corner and aims his gun at Kate with one hand, shooting the crazy yellow wolfsbane bullet directly into her chest. HOLY SHIT CHRIS. The force of the bullet knocks Kate off her ass and onto her back on the ground, as Derek and Jordan both (the former of whom is still totally naked and not giving any fucks about it) look at Chris in shock. Really, Chris looks pretty shocked too, as though he can't believe he actually did it. Kate grimaces in pain as the wolfsbane takes effect, and whispers, "Chris?" before pulling herself back onto her feet and running inside La Iglesia, as Chris and some other hunters reluctantly follow her. I still think that the temple gives her extra power, and the fact that her first instinct was to go inside seems to support that.

(via teenwolf)
Inside the berserker-factory room, Scott and Peter are still fighting, and they seem to be about evenly matched at first, since Scott is younger, sprier, and much better at gymnastics and blocking, but after a few moments, Scott quickly loses his edge. The rest of the pack has taken their own hiding spots around the room and watch in horror as Scott gets thrown into a wall. "Come on!" Peter taunts, as he picks up a disoriented Scott and throws him again into a nearby support column. "Fight like an alpha!" Be careful what you wish for, Peter, because that's when Scott starts to claw his way back, flipping off a wall when Peter tries to throw him against it, and roundhouse kicking Peter onto his ass. Stiles is watching the fight go down with such a murderous expression that you KNOW he's just like, trying to telepathically communicate "KILL HIM, SCOTT! KILL HIM, SCOTT!" While Peter is still on the ground, Scott starts pounding his fists into Peter's gut, which hurts me just watching it, and pulls him up to his feet to toss him around a bit. Unfortunately, Peter headbutts Scott in the face, which kind of makes him lose his grip for a moment, and once again gets the upper hand while Malia and Kira watch in fright, clearly itching to join in and back Scott up.

Peter knocks Scott down to his knees once again, and growls, "You want to beat me? You're going to have to kill me!" That seems to be Peter's ultimate endgame, I think-- if he can't get Scott's power for his own, then he's going to corrupt it so Scott doesn't have it anymore. It's like Deucalion's plan, really, which makes a lot of sense, considering how much Peter even physically resembles him. He lobs Scott so hard against the wall that he almost hits the ceiling, and gets the wind knocked out of him when he lands back on the stone floor. Liam, who has seen more than enough of his alpha getting injured, is ready to just jump in and defend him, but Peter seems to have anticipated that-- he grabs a nearby wooden pew that had been overturned at some point, and lobs it at Liam. Thankfully, he ducks just in time, so he doesn't get hit, but it's more than enough force to get Scott angry enough to finally tap into his powers fully. NOBODY MESSES WITH SCOTT'S PACK. Peter roars and lunges for Liam, but Scott quickly pulls himself upright, which distracts Peter enough to get him to leave Liam in favor of taking Scott again.

There's this look in Scott's face, this very well-contained fury, that kind of reminds me of X-Men: First Class. Have any of you seen that movie? Charles Xavier (Professor X) is trying to teach Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) to use his abilities over metal and magnetic fields, which he had always previously triggered with pure, unadulterated fury, most specifically that against Sebastian Shaw for his role in the Holocaust and killing his mother, torturing him to get him to hone his abilities, etc. However, Charles tells Erik, "True focus lies between rage and serenity," and I honestly think it's a perfect parallel to this scene. Peter is the one who is always about anger, and who has talked multiple times about how he has learned to channel all of the hate, rage, etc that he can muster into fighting and controlling the shift, and he even taught Derek to live that way, too.

But Scott, right now, who is channeling not only his anger at Peter for hurting HIS pack, but is also channeling what gives him serenity-- the love and friendship that bonds him to each of the members of his pack? That's the balance that ultimately gives Scott the edge in pretty much every supernatural battle he's had so far, and it's something that the villains never seem to understand-- Scott's strength comes from 1) his love of his friends and family, 2) the unique bonds that he's formed with this group of people, all of whom he has fought beside and experienced horrendous and terrifying situations with, and 3) his desire to protect the innocent in the same way that Allison taught him. And that's why he wins, because he never stops getting up and fighting for what he believes. I FUCKING ADORE SCOTT MCCALL AND SO SHOULD YOU.

So Peter lunges at Scott, but Scott easily blocks every single punch and swipe Peter makes, and you can see Peter's face slowly go from smug superiority to "HOLY FUCK WHAT HAVE I DONE" in like seconds, as Scott dodges Peter's hits with quicker and more effective movements that look like they were pulled straight from The Matrix. Malia, Kira, Liam, and Stiles are all looking at Scott so hopefully and proudly, its like they're channeling all of their respective powers into him (which reminds me of this excellent serialized fic by alan713ch on AO3 in which the exact same thing happens and it is BADASS), and suddenly Scott isn't just on the offensive, but on the defensive, hitting Peter over and over with extremely controlled and precisely targeted punches and swipes that are slowly bringing him to his knees.

Finally, just as Peter is starting to sway on his feet, Scott hits Peter with such an intense right hook that Peter FLIES up over the berserker-table and into a nearby stack of wooden palettes. He then leaps up onto the table, with the white light of the overhead full moon streaming through the window and framing him like the true alpha that he truly is. As he stands up to his full height, towering over Peter, Peter just glares at him, so pissed that he's been defeated by that "idiot teenage boy" who "doesn't deserve his power." SUCKS TO BE YOU ALWAYS, PETER. He brought this on himself. "You were never an alpha, Peter," Scott reminds him. "But you were always a monster." Peter is FURIOUS, and is about to get back on his feet to keep fighting that Scott leaps from the table and punches him in the head, knocking him unconscious onto the pile of broken, splintered wood. YES SCOTT YES. Seeing Peter is out, the kids come out of their hidey-holes and watch as Scott turns toward them, still standing under that gorgeous patch of moonlight coming through the window above his head. The Jesus symbolism is pretty heavy-handed, but I still dig it.

I don't know, you guys, I hate Peter and Kate (although I do appreciate them for being excellent, albeit cartoony, villains) and I went into the finale desperately hoping that at least one of them would be killed off, but honestly? I've come to terms with the fact that they didn't go that route, and I've even come to appreciate it. Making Scott into the Batman/Spiderman-type of hero who doesn't kill fits right in with his character, and he's clearly demonstrated that he has the strength to scare away quite a few villains, so I don't see it always being a problem that is going to bite them in the ass, at least not with Kate. I'm sure Peter will eventually be back for vengeance, but something tells me it's gonna be a while 'til that happens, and until then, he's in for some misery, so it's all good. Plus, I really like where each of their stories are headed into the next season or two.

Speaking of Kate, we cut to another part of La Iglesia, where gunfire is heard from the various hallways. Finally, Kate runs into the obsidian room, clutching her wounded arms to her chest, followed by Chris, who is shooting at Kate with one hand will he applies pressure to his abdominal wound with the other. "You wanna kill me, Chris?" Kate asks incredulously between gasps, obviously weakened by the wolfsbane and all the injuries she's currently trying to heal. It's hilarious that she says that, since Chris being so hurt is actually indirectly Kate's fault, because she was the one who left Peter to make sure Chris didn't follow her. Whether or not she actually ordered him to do that to Chris doesn't matter, because either way she should have known Peter would do it. "No," Chris replies weakly. "But I don't want to save you anymore, either. I don't know that you're worth saving." To Kate's credit, she looks like she's about to cry at this admission, although that may be more about her own insecurities and need for approval and less about being hurt that she's losing her brother.

"Oh, just like when we were kids," Kate snits. "ALWAYS trying to make me the bad guy! You can't see things clearly anymore, can you?" Kate's voice goes from annoyance to straight-up anger in about a millisecond. "Scott's not your little hero! None of them are! Not when they killed Allison." OH NO YOU FUCKING DID NOT. YOU DID NOT JUST BRING UP HIS DEAD DAUGHTER WHO YOU TRIED TO MANIPULATE INTO BECOMING YOUR MINI-ME BEFORE YOUR CRAZY-ASS DAD DID THE SAME. Chris is looking at her in fury and clearly thinking the same thing, and he's so overcome with anger and grief and betrayal that it takes him a long moment before he can even speak. He angrily stomps toward her to look her in the eyes, and surprisingly, Kate has the good sense to look terrified by the realization that she just fucked up BIG by crossing that line. "Allison died," Chris growls, his chin quivering as he tries to keep himself from crying. "She died SAVING HER FRIENDS. Who would you die for, hmm?"

(via teenwolf)
DAMN RIGHT! YOU TELL HER, CHRIS. Kate loses whatever sympathetic pity points she got by turning back into cold, homicidal maniac Kate and once again reiterates that he's not going to kill her before heading for the exit. "And you're not gonna catch me! Not you. Not Peter. And NOT the Calaveras." And on that note, she grimaces a bit in pain before dashing away, leaving Chris all alone in the temple. I think she's grossly underestimating Chris' determination, hunting skills, and tracking abilities, but whatever makes you feel better, Katie. Once she's gone, Chris' tough facade is gone, and he doubles over in pain, almost losing his balance in the process. I literally yelled "NO!" at the TV because I thought he was going to end up dying from not properly treating his wounds, but nope! Thank god!

It's daytime now outside La Iglesia, where everyone has gathered around outside to kick off our ending montage! The song that plays in the background, "Arsonist's Lullaby" by Hozier, is not only the perfect song to describe the McCall Pack, but it was also made into this amazing piece of fanart by kendrawcandraw on Tumblr. I was planning on writing all about it and how it relates to the different characters in the notes, but since this recap is pushing 20k+ words, I'm definitely going to have to once again make them into their own separate post. So, stay tuned for the finale wrap-up and discussion of what's to come, which should be posted shortly after this. :) ANYWAY, the Calavera hunters and Chris Argent are gathered in a half-circle around the McCall Pack, who are standing in front of the temple's entrance, all covered in dust, dirt, and blood and looking as though they're 100% ready to return home. "There's enough yellow wolfsbane to keep Peter out for the trip back," Chris explains to the gang, as several of the hunters load his unconscious body into one of their vehicles. "But, be careful," Chris warns.

Scott looks so sad when he asks one of his many surrogate fathers if he's really leaving with the hunters, but although Araya and her goons are staring unhappily at the pack, Chris doesn't seem at all bummed out. "I made a deal with the Calaveras weeks ago. They'll leave you alone-- all of you." Liam, Stiles, and Malia look shocked that Chris would do that for them, but I'm not at all surprised. In fact, it makes me want to cry how much Chris loves the McCall Pack, and I am 100% positive that Allison, wherever she is in the Otherworld, is ridiculously proud of her dad and her friends right now. Whoops, I'm crying again. "But, only if I help them catch Kate," Chris adds, as Jordan watches this conversation go down curiously. Kira asks him what will happen if he can't catch her, but Chris isn't worried. "I'll find her. Someone has to."

"When I was a child, I heard voices / some would sing and some would scream / you'll soon find you have few choices / I learned the voices died with me."

When Chris turns and leaves with the Calaveras, the pack is left standing alone in front of the church. Jordan looks like he has no idea what to do now, which makes sense-- this is his real first supernatural brawl, and now his life truly is going to be forever changed, just like the rest of them. Scott wraps his arm around Kira, who snuggles into his shoulder, as Stiles, Malia and Liam walk over to them and join them; five of the seven members of the pack, standing together. Poor Scott doesn't look nearly relieved as he should, and it's pretty obvious that he's still feeling terrible for what he did while he was a berserker. He may not have killed anyone, like Stiles did when he was possessed by the nogitsune, but I think they're both going to be changed by those experiences forever as well.

(via teenwolf)

"When I was a child, I'd sit for hours / staring into open flames / something in it had a power / could barely tear my eyes away."

Derek, who managed to find his clothes, and Braeden head over to the prison transport van, where Derek chivalrously opens the door for her. "You're not really a US Marshal, are you?" Derek asks with a mischievous glint in his eyes, but Braeden's answer surprises us all. "I was. But, I spent too long looking for one person. It's hard to keep a job when part of it becomes an obsession." OMG, THAT IS ACTUALLY AWESOME. And also sad, because I bet she was a badass US Marshal, too. When Derek asks her who she was after, Braeden just shakes her head. "All I got was a code name: the Desert Wolf." Derek's eyes widen in recognition at the name, because OH SHIT! So, does Derek know that the Desert Wolf was a former lover of Peter's/Malia's mother, or does he know about her because of something else? I NEED TO KNOW. But, needless to say, I have a feeling our Desert Wolf is going to be a big part of next season, and I am SO PUMPED ABOUT IT, especially if it keeps Braeden around. Derek turns around to look over at Scott, just as Kira walks away to get back to their rides. He catches Scott's eye, and Scott just looks sad and guilty until Derek smiles at him, at which point Scott returns the smile, perking up a little at Derek's big-brotherly affection as they nod at each other in acknowledgement.

(via teenwolf)

"And all you have is your fire / and the place you need to reach / don't you ever tame your demons / but always keep them on a leash"

The song continues on as we cut to the Sheriff's Department, where Sheriff is waiting for his son to come back. Sure enough, a still-dirty Stiles and Malia eventually walk into the office, and immediately Sheriff and Stiles leap at each other for their patented Stilinski-Man-Hug. "Dad, you smell terrible," Stiles quips, which makes Sheriff laugh as he replies that Stiles, too, really needs a shower. Malia smiles at Sheriff, but it fades quickly as she awkwardly stands around, probably thinking a bit about Peter and how she'll never have a relationship like that with her own biological father. As if Sheriff can read her mind, he pulls away from Stiles and holds out his arms toward Malia. "Hi, Malia," Sheriff says with a smile, as Malia hesitantly walks toward them and is quickly pulled into a three-way hug. Malia's smile is SO radiant in response to being included in the Stilinski family, and I pretty much start crying again because of how much I LOVE that the pack parents (Chris, Melissa, and Sheriff) have literally adopted all of the pack into their hearts, and each treats them all like their own children. It seriously warms my cold, dead heart so much! Malia doesn't need Peter, because she's got Sheriff, and Melissa! And Chris, whenever he gets back from wherever he's going.

(via teenwolf)
When they finally pull away, Sheriff insists that he's just happy to see that they're both home, safe and sound, before turning to Malia and asking her if she'd like to get out of there and get something to eat. Stiles is starving, so he's like, "HELL YEAH," but unfortunately for him, Sheriff wasn't talking to him! Instead, while Stiles was distracted, Sheriff handcuffed him to one of the desks, so he can't follow the two of them as they head out the door. Sheriff hilariously puts his arm around Malia's shoulders, ignoring Stiles' protests at being left behind, and asks her once again what her favorite food is. "Uh, pizza?" Malia replies, having remembered the last time they had this conversation. Poor Stiles eventually stops struggling to get loose, and defeatedly calls out after them, "Bring me back a slice?" BAHAHAHA.

An unknown amount of time later, school is in session, and the hallways are full of students. Panama's "Destroyer" begins to play as we cut into Mr. Yukimura's classroom, where Noshiko is meeting up with Kira. She hands her a small package wrapped in tissue paper and explains, "The shard of obsidian you brought back, Kira. There's a reason you kept it, and a reason your father took the liberty of making an alteration to it." Kira unfolds the paper to find that piece of obsidian she used to cut her hand to trigger her healing ability, which Ken seems to have carved into a small shuriken, or throwing star. It's so cute, and SO Kira! "Do you know what it is?" Noshiko asks proudly, and Kira smiles when she realizes what it is. "A tail," she whispers, which her mother confirms. "Your first." YES, THAT IS SO AWESOME. And so fitting, don't you think? She was thrown into battle and forced to learn how to use her abilities on her own, under pressure, which is a pretty big feat, wouldn't you say? So, it seems like a great reward for getting through the end of her supernatural puberty and becoming a full-fledged thunder kitsune. Hopefully this means her powers will increase/expand so we can see her do more next season-- she is a badass with a sword, but I'd like to see more from her, abilities-wise, to distinguish herself from the werewolves/coyotes. Either way, Kira is super psyched to be a grown-up kitsune now, and will hopefully be taking a level in badass next season. She looks so proud!

(via teenwolf)
"Then Stiles said Kira and Scott were stuck in Mexico," Liam explains to an unimpressed Coach Finstock, while Stiles and Scott awkwardly back him up. "Which is why they missed the game. Uhhh, so we went down to Mexico, to drive them back from Mexico, and then THAT'S why we all missed practice..." Coach stares Liam down, like, "Are you fucking shitting me?" so Liam nervously wraps up with, "...Because... we were all... in Mexico." As you can probably guess, Coach isn't buying that one bit, and asks Scott why he would take Kira on a date to fucking MEXICO, but Stiles just stammers that it was their first date and they wanted to make it special. Coach totally calls them out on fucking with him, but then concedes that he's had experiences down in Mexico that would "knock the genitals off you boys." LOL, oh Coach. His point is, though, that Liam is the best young talent he's ever seen, so he's putting Scott and Stiles in charge of watching out for him. "You boys are going to stick together, you're gonna look out for each other, and you're gonna have each other's backs. You got it?" Judging by the adoring brotherly smiles that Scott and Liam are giving each other, I don't think that's going to be a problem, and Scott and Liam pretty much say the same thing.

Over at the station, Jordan seems to be working late when Lydia shows up with a leather-bound book in her hands. It's the Bestiaire Argent, which, if you recall, used to be on a thumb-drive kept on Gerard's keyring, before Allison (*uncontrollable sobbing*) and Lydia decided that it would work best if it was in book form. I'm guessing Allison probably had Lydia translate it and maybe even draw the illustrations, too, because it's no longer in Archaic Latin, but in English. Hilariously, when Jordan opens the book, he opens it right up to the kanima page, which should help him and Sheriff to learn what exactly a kanima is, since they never got to experience one for themselves. "Whatever you are," Lydia says softly. "It might be in here! I'd like to help you figure it out." Jordan just looks at her in surprise and confusion, like he wasn't expecting to be getting help from this redheaded teenager who intrigues him so much. YESSS! JORDIA/MARRISH IS HAPPENING. And since Lydia is probably going to be 18 by next season, I feel more comfortable shipping them than I did before. Also, I cannot wait to find out what Parrish is already-- Kathleen is still firmly on the Apollo train, which I think would be ideal, but I think it's most likely that he's either a phoenix or a barghest. More on that in the finale/season 5 speculation post!

(via teenwolf)
Now, to the best part-- PETER IS IN WEREWOLF JAIL AT EICHEN HOUSE. HELL YES. A sweatpants and thermal-clad, drowsy and stumbling Peter is being led into a cell in Eichen House's supernatural ward that looks suspiciously similar to the one we saw Dr. Valak in last week. He's shoved into his cell by a big, burly orderly, who leaves quickly after locking up tight in his new room. Peter is acting like he's super drunk, which I'm guessing is an effect of the wolfsbane, but we've never seen it affect werewolves like that? Is this a different yellow wolfsbane from the yellow wolfsbane that Violet/Garrett used? I don't get it. "Do you actually think this is going to hold me?" Peter slurs dopily, as he glances quickly around his new home. He headbutts the plexiglass window, which does absolutely nothing, much to his chagrin. "You think you can shoot me up with wolfsbane, make me docile and weak, and I won't find A WAY OUT?" He headbutts the plexiglass again, and when that doesn't work, he just petulantly presses his face against the glass and breaths angrily while he considers his options. That's when a familiar male voice with a British accent pipes up, "It's not just the wolfsbane! It's the mountain ash wood framework of the cell. It's all around us."

Sure enough, it's totally Dr. Valak, who is laying prone on his cot, reading one of his trashy romance novels. Naturally, Peter is like, "Who the fuck are you?" but in a moment, he's gonna wish he hadn't asked. Dr. Valak gets to his feet and approaches Peter before replying, "I could tell you, but it's easier if I just show you." He starts unwrapping the dirty bandage around his head (Don't they ever change it? Or are they too afraid he'll mind-whammy them if they mess with it? Does he have a supernatural healing ability that keeps it from getting infected? Why would they not be like, scrupulously cleaning it so that he doesn't get some kind of brain infection and die in their care?) and reveals the hole in his head, which both fascinates and horrifies Peter. He can't resist looking inside, though, and when the eye blinks open inside his skull, Peter starts getting some visions, and judging by the way he's screaming bloody murder, I'm gonna guess it's not pretty! Oh, Peter-- it's totally different when physical strength has absolutely no bearing on how powerful you are, isn't it? As Peter screams, we zoom through the supernatural ward and see all the various supernaturals with their hands clawing desperately through the bars of their cells. HOOLY SHIT!

Oh my god, you guys, what are we gonna do for the next eight months? (Answer: watch the Vampire Diaries, the Originals, Supernatural, Arrow, and The Flash [the first two of which I should hopefully be recapping!], that's what!) Stay tuned for my finale/season 5 speculation notes, which should be posted in the next day or two, which will have some meta involving Teen Wolf's music choices, the berserkers, Kate and Peter's plan and where their stories are going next season, and what story lines have been set up or will continue onto next season that we still need answers about! Thanks for reading these ridiculously long write-ups, and I hope to see you in a couple weeks when fall TV season kicks up! <3333

[screencaps via Screencapped]

- With regards to the fashion reruns, we have Derek in the black leather jacket last seen on him in "Riddled" (which is sad, because it's a really great black leather jacket), and Peter wearing the same olive green, short-sleeved henley shirt that he wore in "Alpha Pact."

-If you're interested in reading more discussions about Season 4 and speculation about Season 5, click HERE to read my meta masterpost!


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