Teen Wolf gave us its eight episode, “Blitzkrieg,” and it brought the direness of the situation in Beacon Hills to the forefront, in more ways than one.
We open with Nazis, as is perhaps appropriate for an episode of this name. Mr. Douglas, Hauptmann back then, is presenting to other Nazis his plan to recruit Wild Hunt as their own unbeatable army. When the local Nazi boss comes with the very reasonable objection that if they’re an unbeatable army, how does Douglad intend to beat them to recruit them, Douglas kills him in response. Those wacky Nazis, am I right?
Anyway, next we see the Sheriff slowly remembering Stiles with the help of his crime-solving thread. The more things in Stiles’s room he connects, the more things appear, until finally they are all back, and he remembers everything. The pack is planing to go find the rift to the way station. Scott wants to get in and bite Stiles to make him capable of surviving going through the portal back. Peter points out that they’re extremely unlikely to survive that, plus it won’t solve anything in the long term. He insists that the thing to do is run. He then follows action to words.
The senior pack goes to the forest to look for the portal. They realize it’s actually underground, not above ground, and so they descend to the tunnels.
Meanwhile, Chris and Marissa are examining the corpse of the dead Rider when Douglas discovers them there and by throttling Chris, forces Marissa to promise they would help him find Parrish.
Claudia Stilinski goes to see her husband and explains to him that she sees nothing in Stiles’s room. When she steps inside, he stops seeing anything either, but he’s not fooled. He tells her the story he remembered, of her last good day before she died. He found a picture taken that day on Stiles’s board. When he gets this far in the story, he looks at Claudia and she’s not there.
Sophomore pack is waiting at the Sheriff station with Theo locked up. Mason mourns Corey, whom no one seems to have forgotten, or they remembered him again very quickly. They’re trying to figure out how to defeat the Hunt. Theo tells them Douglas already knows how, and if only Liam would break the sword that keeps Theo captured, Theo would tell them.
So Liam does break the sword, and Theo tells them. Douglas tried to recruit the Hunt in his Nazi years and failed and had to run away. Then he tried to improve his chances by contacting the Dread Doctors, and a superficial wound he had received from a Hunt whip combined with the water the Doctors put him in somehow made him even more powerful. I mean, he was an alpha werewolf crossed with a lion even before (yes, really), so…yeah.
Chris and Marissa take Douglas to Parrish and then try to ambush him. The fail, however, and he makes them both disappear and then wakes Parrish, whose eyes are green.
The sophomore pack is ambushed by a Rider, who takes Mason. A long fight follows, at the end of which Hayden tells Liam to go warn Scott and let her be taken, which he ends up doing.
“You can save me later, I believe in you.” —Hayden to Liam
The senior pack is trying to figure out how to get through the rift without getting burned to a crisp when Douglas appears and tries to convince them they all want the same thing. Liam arrives in the nick of time, however, to tell them he is a Nazi. So Douglas fights them with the Hunt whip instead, and manages to get Parrish to open the rift and they pass through together. The rift closes behind him, spawning two Riders.
Scott and Malia fight the Riders and are losing, but in the last minute, Peter appears and saves them, only to be taken himself. Scott and Malia run. Meanwhile, Liam tries to take Lydia to safety, but it turns out to be more the other way round, as the Rider is afraid of her.
The pack sits, gathered and thinking about how they are the last people left in Beacon Hills and how they have to find a way to open the rift again before it’s too late. Then the Sheriff comes in. He tells them he remembered Stiles and as he did, it seemed to him as if he saw him for a moment. It appears that remembering Stiles would open the rift once more. The plan for the next episode is on!
“Blitzkrieg” was one of the weaker episodes, on all levels.
The theme of being the last ones left was interesting, but wasn’t properly set up. As late as last episode, there was no mention of the rapidly dwindling population. And now suddenly they are the last ones? That broke the effect it could have had. The increasing despair that should have dominated the episode was not quite there, too, because too many things were squeezed into it. We didn’t have time to really feel any of what had happened. I know that it’s called “Blitzkrieg,” so things are supposed to be moving quick, but I’m not sure it should be quite this literal.
The plot, too, wasn’t the strongest. It started with Douglas the Idiot. I’m sure killing those who laugh at you is very satisfying, but maybe you could have thought about the rather major flaw of your plan before you rushed in when someone had so kindly pointed it out to you, dearie? Or did he truly believe that he was going to defeat the Hunt “with German diligence”, as he said? (It also makes me wonder if it was an intentional reference to Hitler’s similar statement.1 Only the Nazi leader did appear to actually believe it, while Douglas is painted as not caring about the Nazis at all.)
Then we got the rather rushed interlude with Chris and Marissa. In spite of saying that their relationship was going strong for a few episodes now, her desperation when he almost died felt unearned to me. I didn’t feel the depth of personal relationship behind it. Partly it was because while we saw them together a lot, we never saw anything truly personal happen between them, Melissa saving his life notwithstanding. She saves people’s lives all the time, after all. Partly, it was because the whole situation was so contrived. Why were Chris and Marissa even there? How was Chris caught entirely unawares, the seasoned hunter he is? Why did they actually take Douglas to Parrish instead of setting that trap elsewhere, and while we’re at it, why didn’t they make it a better trap?
Then there is the freeing of Theo.
Did the sophomores forget that they were keeping him alive only because he was being useful? What happened to threatening to send him back to the ground if he doesn’t help them? Or at the very least, they could have promised to free him if what he tells them is useful and valuable. As the situation stood, he had little reason at all to say anything once they freed him. They had no guarantee he wasn’t lying. If the scene was painted as Mason being too distraught by Corey being taken to be able to think it through properly, it would add character depth and make sense. Like this, it was just stupid.
And speaking of the sophomores. Why was Liam getting Lydia to safety when they knew that Lydia was literally the only one who didn’t have to fear Riders? Why did Hayden spend the first half of Liam’s fight with the Rider by standing by the wall and looking frightened? What happened to the ladies this episode?
Peter’s self-sacrifice, which was probably meant to be a culmination of his personal sort-of-redemption arc, was just a repeat of the previous one. Just as his protestation that they should run were a repeat of the ones he had uttered already. It wasn’t an arc, because he didn’t move anywhere. He stayed at exactly the same spot this whole season. His story had so much potential, too! As it was, it failed to move me in any way. Except, that is, being irritated at Scott and Malia for not running immediately. The same goes for Liam, by the way. People, when someone sacrifices their life to buy you time to run, the least you can do for them is actually bloody run!
In fact, the best part of this episode was Sheriff Stilinski remembering Stiles. It worked emotionally, it had room to breathe, it was beautifully acted, it had everything. My only complaint about that storyline is Claudia. I’ve covered the problematic implications of her being treated as not real already. It became even more marked here, as we saw her effectively fighting for her life. She was desperately trying to convince the Sheriff that Stiles wasn’t real. She obviously knew, at least on some level, that she was in danger. It was heartbreaking.
But enough about that. Let me just say now that it’s also extremely problematic that while Sheriff gets the space for grieving Stiles, he gets over Claudia’s disappearance with one sad face. Is he supposed to just be fine because she “wasn’t real”? He’s going through the loss of his wife all over again. I’m loathe to point to the last season of Sherlock as a model of anything, but it did this part right. Not that everyone grieves the same way, but there should have been something.
And there are the small things, like Stiles’ name. Micislav? Really? Why the hell would people have such exaggerated reactions to that? Am I supposed to believe that Californians are so xenophobic that they can’t deal with a Polish name? And why were Parrish’s eyes green? Eye colour change is usually a dramatic process in Teen Wolf. It’s not enough to just have someone temporarily control you.
Why was Douglas so ridiculously overpowered, so much so that the mention of all his powers only made me laugh? Or take the stupidity of the rift being underground when we saw clearly and repeatedly that it was, in fact, above ground. This was the same underground where the Argent bunker is. If the rift was here, they’d have been in much more trouble in that episode they tried to hide in there.
And the idea that you can get to Stiles and the others with a simple wormhole doesn’t work very well with the notion that they’re in a quantum state. At least try to use your technobabble consistently, guys…
But I’ll try to be a bit more positive in closing. I did truly enjoy the Sheriff’s scenes, and Mason’s brief opportunity to grieve Corey. Liam had a good moment, too, when he had to decide to let Hayden be taken. It was a good moment for both of them, in fact. That might be a first for Hayden this season, or at least since Gwen was taken. And the last scene I really like was the very end. Not just when the Sheriff came, but before. Scott grieving for his mother in a quiet way was heartbreaking. It was also very poignant when Malia told him that “his Mum was gone, but she was still alive” at the end. The “contrary to mine” was unvoiced, but clearly understood.
All in all, though, I’m just looking forward to the next episode. I would hope we’d see what must be quite a decent party at the Way Station now. The episode’s name is Memory Found, though. It seems the focus will be more on the senior pack remembering Stiles. Hopefully we’ll get something at least.
1. When his Chief of Staff Halder expressed concerns about the the weakened flanks of the army, Hitler told him they would be held with “national socialist ardour.” It was about as successful as Douglas’ “German diligence.” ↩