Hi hi hi and sorry, all! This season is very sad and scary and I am glad to be back here to experience what I can with you! Brief 6x03 recap below, followed by the 6x04 awards + 'cap.
PREVIOUSLY, ON TEEN WOLF 6x03: SUPERPOSITION
Scott, Lydia, and Malia all agreed on the probability of the existence of a person named "Stiles," who they then determined must be tied in some way to Sheriff Stilinski, whose WWII-vet father went by that nickname. Stilinski (and the miraculously living Claudia) forcefully but without detail forbade the trio from going to the care home outside of Beacon Hills to talk to him, but duh, they went anyway…and somehow got stuck there overnight? Malia knocked the front desk clerk unconscious on their way in, so I guess "as long as it takes" must have been part of their plan all along. In any case, Grandpa Stiles seemed to be the opposite of helpful, as he was racked with either debilitating dementia, or violent, screaming vitriol that made cruel sport of everyone in the room. Turns out Grandpa Stiles was an abusive jerk who beat Stilinski and his mom—COOL. Still, the mean lucidity Scott's (and then Stilinski's) visit provoked did turn up something useful: Grandpa Stiles insulting the Sheriff "and your loser of a son." Ghost emoji! This didn't trigger any memories of Stiles himself for the Sheriff, but did remind him of the time he and Claudia discussed the fact that IF they had a son, they would name him after HER (impossibly, secretly named) father…and the fact that while she agreed, she noted that it wouldn't matter either way, since he'd "just end up being called 'Stiles'."
Liam and the Junior Pack, meanwhile, tasked themselves with protecting the sister of the Ghost Riders' most recent victim, who it turns out saw one of the riders when her sister was taken. Hayden's genius plan to get Gwen to trust her was, fantastically (in both the metaphorical and literal sense), to tell her the truth. "Ghost Riders are coming to erase you from existence, and only my supernatural friends and I can protect you!!!" Gwen ran away. Apparently she was Out Of Town with her family for the last five years of constant supernatural hijinks and isn't part of the town's silent "See Something, Say Nothing" agreement. So the Junior Pack hatched an alternate scheme, to host that night's lacrosse party at Scott's mountain-ash barricaded house, and hope for the best. No such thing! The Ghost Riders travel literally by lightning, and so one just zapped straight into the center of the house. The pack made some progress against the rider, Liam and Corey fighting physically, Mason laying down mountain ash once it was inside, and Corey pulling his invisible-visible trick and making the rider visible to everyone at the party, but…they didn't actually win. The rider just ghosted when Parrish pulled his gun on it. And now EVERYONE at the party has seen a rider, and is officially on The List!
Finally, Melissa and Chris (being SUPES CUTE) conducted their own protracted investigation at the morgue into the supernatural murder that wasn't supposed to be supernatural murder, and discovered that the bitten-into brain had its pituitary gland removed — a detail consistent with another case Chris knew of, indicating a possible serial killer. Cut to Nazi Youth Physics Teacher at the high school, whose flashbacks had already revealed to be the Nazi super soldier the Dread Doctors had been siphoning fluids from for decades. What was he up to? Oh, just chomping the skull of the world's bravest high school custodian (srsly, who in their right mind would take that job??). FUN.
THIS WEEK'S WOLF PACK PUPPY
Aw, Malia. Without Stiles around, it's like she's had to start her whole struggle for humanity all over again.
Runner-up: Shelley Hennig
BEST REACTION TO SOMETHING SUPERNATURALLY RIDICULOUS
Coach Finstock turning the lacrosse team's loss (of actual team members!!!) into an opportunity to promote Liam to captain, while calling everyone else cowards. COACH.
WEEKLY REMINDER THAT BEACON HILLS IS ON A HELLMOUTH
Half the lacrosse team disappeared from existence!
REIGNING PRESIDENT OF THE SCOTT MCCALL FAN CLUB
Argent's fatherly nod of approval when Scott volunteered to stand up against the Ghost Riders in order to protect everyone else, that was pretty good. But it sure feels Scott has hardly been in his own show this season — the Junior Pack is getting a much larger share of screentime than (I, at least) anticipated/wanted. I mean, no one's lining up to be president of the Liam What's-his-face Fan Club.
I mean…other than these three
tl;dr I am the reigning president of the Scott McCall fan club. More Scott! More Scott!!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Scary Movie XVIII
Well, first, see above: Melissa, tired of watching people she loves being wheeled into the ER on gurneys, tracked Chris to help on his nightly hunt! Or rather, "help" and "tracked." She's…loud. And kind of awkward. And totally cute. And deadly with that taser. Or rather, she would be, if the werewolf they were tracking A) hadn't already vanished into thin air, and B) wasn't so vicious as to bite through the helmeted skulls of small children riding their bikes through the Beacon Hills woods after dark (tbh, if any Beacon Hills child is dumb enough to do that, just, like, let the Nazi supersoldier werewolf take them, y'know?).
One of the kids is still alive, even though she has a hole in her cranium. She stares at Melissa from the branch she's splayed on in the tree above, until she falls to the forest floor and dies. It's super horrific, and not in a fun way.
Anyway, one supernatural creature who *hasn't* vanished into thin air? Malia, on her nightly werecoyote run! She's like, fully barely human these days, and something about the sight of humans + the smell of fresh child blood sends her into a coyote craze, careening straight towards Chris and Melissa. Chris raises his weapon, wings her. She nearly squeezes his arm out of its socket when they get her back to the morgue to dig out the bullet. It's all very funny.
So thaks to Corey's quick invisble thinking last episode, a whole group of mostly lacrosse players have now been exposed to the Ghost Riders' erased-from-existence hoodoo. Super! Now what?
Liam and Mason are of two totally different minds: Liam wants to stage a showdown, using Mason's new app that measures pre-lightning storm energy building in the atmosphere (the Riders travel by lightning, naturally), while Mason wants to hide everyone somewhere underground (dirt will ground the lightning and prevent direct-to-victim travel).
Scott finally arrives, but in this season's spirit of passaing the baton, he's no help. It ends up not mattering, as even though Mason convinces the rest of the group of the wisdom of HIS plan, Gwen and all the rest of the lacrosse players except Malia's one-night stand, Nate, refuse to follow the pack + Chris Argent down into the hunter's bunker before that night's game (I guess with Peter Hale gone, the enormous and well-defended Hale vault literally beneath the school…has been forgotten?). So a split offensive it is!
Practicing keeping control over her humanity, Malia stays behind in the vault with Chris to help protect the kids down there, while Scott, Liam, and Corey return topside to protect the players during the game. Is Corey a lacrosse player even? Does it MATTER? Nope! This is Beacon Hills: if you want to be a lacrosse player, you can be a lacrosse player.
And anyway, born-wolf little sis is back (bottom right)! Happy continuity, everyone!
Honestly, she's got the right idea: wolves just need to chill out and lay low if they're within 100 miles of BHHS
(Also: pls can I have that sweater vest, it is the sweater vest to end all sweater vests)
Mason isn't cheering because his team is winning (opposite: they are losing, badly, as the storm's energy is putting everyone on edge), but because as he was in the stands he saw two angry lacrosse players clash in a tableau reminiscent of the mythic beasts battling in the mural the Dread Doctors spent all that time uncovering, and remembered that the Ghost Rider only left when Parrish showed up—the Hellhound is their secret weapon!
And just in time: the Ghost Riders are here! And like, A LOT of people in the stands can see them, rising in horror, in slow motion, as the rain starts streaming. They immediately start running. The Ghost Riders immediately go after them. Many, many, many are shot out of existence right in front of us. One is dragged to ineffability behind a galloping horse. Like, this is serious business.
Scott, Liam, and Corey join ranks to protect their vulnerable teammates—Scott grabbing Corey's arm to be able to see what he's facing even—but it's no good. The Riders pick off their teammates one by one, and it gets to the grim point that Scott collapses his plan to protect *just* Gwen, a move so counter to his whole thing that I'd be complaining pretty loudly about internal character consistency were people not still disappearing from existence at that very moment.
Eventually, Gwen has had enough. She wedges her way in front of Scott, taunting the Riders to just TAKE her already. They do. And even though Scott long ago lost hold of Corey's arm, he can now see them all fully, and so sees the whole tragedy of Gwen disappearing from reality firsthand.
Meanwhile, Mason and Hayden have set Parrish up in a standoff against a Rider in the BHHS halls. He goes full
nude Hellhound, but the Rider has his number now, and with a flick of his whip somehow drains Parrish of all his flaming Hellhound power. For good? For now? Who knows! Does it even matter?
Despite the progress Papa Hunter Chris is making with humanizing the near-feral Malia, Rider defense isn't going any better for them down in the bunker: Nate took off somewhere in between messing with those whistle beacon spikes and Malia growling at everyone, and so she and Chris BOTH take off to look for him in the tunnels, leaving everyone else undefended behind them. Surprise! Things don't turn out well at all. Every kid from the lacrosse party gets taken, and Chris (offscreen) ends up in bad enough condition that he is rolled into the ER (and Melissa's pretty love-dove ministrations) on a gurney.
While the rest of the pack (Senior & Junior) fail their fight against the Riders and their storm, Lydia stumbles around town—mostly in the Stilinski house, but also in the hospital—looking for any trace at all of "Stiles." She is barely keeping it together.
Literally me since November 9.
The Sheriff isn't totally closed to the possibility of a Stiles (he did have that moment stubbing his toe on the strange bat in the garage and mindlessly shouting STILES!!, recall), but also can't fully get on board with Lydia's obsessive certainty. Claudia, meanwhile, has lost almost all patience—and that's BEFORE Lydia, in a trance (and egged on by another silent ghost shuffling around the house), starts tearing a piece of the Stilinskis' hallway wallpaper away from the wall. At that, Claudia grabs Lydia's arm with such force that Lydia realizes that there may be something about Claudia worth investigating.
Lydia's mom (substitute science teacher/principal/school psychologist) worries that this new thought might be more confirmation bias than banshee (soulmate) instinct, and so sets herself up as an unbiased audience for Lydia's collected evidence. It is apparently enough, as the next time we see Lydia, she and her mom are presenting a united front to Melissa in the hospital as they beg a peek at Claudia's medical records. Melissa is SHOCKED, just SHOCKED…jk, she's totally on board.
Lydia is disappointed to see Claudia's history of zero births right there in writing (sidenote: Claudia GAJOS, which really puts a twist in my list of possible real names for Stiles), but Melissa's already a step (and a decade+) ahead, as her trained eye immediately falls on the fatal neural disease that killed the real Claudia when Stiles was a kid—that is a fatal enough disease that, as far as Melissa is concerned, makes it next to impossible for Claudia to be alive, let alone fully functioning.
Alas, this seemingly damning piece of medical evidence is not enough to convince Malia and Scott that they should be spending any more of their energy hunting for a "Stiles" (nevermind that last season's major conflict was resolved by Melissa and Lydia identifying a tiny detail about Mason's medical history from his hospital file). "These people are leaving things behind," they conclude, "and this 'Stiles' hasn't left anything behind."
"Just us," Lydia corrects. But that's not enough, not when half the lacrosse team is missing, and even Chris Argent has been put out of comission. If Lydia wants to keep searching for Stiles, well—she's on her own.
Junior Pack, Got Liam's Back
Cut to the junior pack (Mason, Corey, Hayden) marching into the locker room to confront Liam with their unwavering support even after his defeat on the field. They refuse to let him give up, or to continue on any battle path without them. They won't even let him stand without edging forward as one like a literal wolf pack. This is all very sweet, but it is hard for me to care when Liam is just so uninteresting. Anyway, their puppy-doggedness wins him over, and by the time they're in the parking lot, passing Stiles' beat-up Jeep, they look like a regular old superhero team.
YEP. STILES' JEEP. RIGHT THERE IN THE LOT.
Hey, relic. Nice to see you.
Stiles is back! PETER HALE is back! ISAAC LAHEY IS BACK?!?!? (almost certainly not, but I will hold out hope until the final credit on the final episode rolls)
SEE YOU SOON