No one does a cliffhanger quite like Teen Wolf. The last episode before the show’s holiday hiatus brought Stiles back into the picture and even briefly reconnected him with his friends over the radio, but we were left with some major questions thanks to his parting words: “Find Canaan.” Thankfully, this week’s installment – “Ghosted” – brought some answers… not to mention some seriously creepy situations for the pack and not one, but two surprising returns.
Lydia’s banshee senses are tingling when the episode opens, as she is treated to a frightening vision of an idyllic 80s neighborhood block party that is soon emptied (rather viciously) by the Ghost Riders. (Five stars for the use of “Hungry Like the Wolf” here.) Only one woman is left standing, unable to accept the reality of the situation. A helpful banner lets us know that this, of course, is the town of Canaan. Why couldn’t Stiles have pointed the pack toward, I don’t know, Disneyland?
But that’s a problem for later in the episode. For now, Scott has taken the sensible step of telling the Sheriff about hearing Stiles’ voice on the radio. The Sheriff is fed up with the Stiles talk, refusing to hear Scott out.
Meanwhile, Lydia fills Malia in on her vision and the two try to make sense of it. Malia is able to locate the town on an old map, and the seniors decide to hit the road. Scott leaves Liam and Hayden to their “Catch a Ghost Rider” plan – which isn’t much of a plan at this point – and the two are overheard by an all-too-interested Mr. Douglas (a.k.a. the Nazi Wolf). That can’t be good.
We’ll start with Canaan. Scott, Lydia, and Malia arrive to find a ghost town – the 1987 block party a little dustier and seemingly deserted, but otherwise basically identical to Lydia’s vision. As they start to explore Canaan, things get a little weird. The creepy carousel starts moving on its own. Malia sees her adoptive mother and sister’s bodies on the ground and is confronted by a vision of Theo. Scott sees Mama McCall with a bite out of her skull. The town is causing hallucinations like what we’ve seen in the past from wolfsbane. But as the seniors decide to leave town, they see a kid who seems real enough and decide to follow him.
The boy – Caleb – leads them to a house with a very creepy woman inside. She (Lenore) offers them some lemonade, which looks – um – less than appetizing. Scott, Lydia, and Malia ask if the woman has seen Stiles, but she says no one has come through Canaan for a long time. Like, since 1987. As the seniors start to ask what happened to the town, Lenore becomes very upset – and her anger has some supernatural force behind it. She refuses to acknowledge that the residents disappeared, saying only that “they left.” The pack tries to leave, but she traps them in the house, saying no one is leaving Canaan ever again.
Lydia stays upstairs to try to reason with Lenore and get more info, while Scott and Malia are forced to follow her son Caleb to the basement. The floor down there is covered in a layer of water, and Caleb’s idea of entertainment is watching a fuzzy VCR of himself, dated 1985. Since Lenore – the woman from Lydia’s initial vision of Canaan – has aged and Caleb hasn’t, Scott and Malia realize that he is dead. He also starts making the room fill with water and supernaturally waterboards Malia and Scott. This episode just gets more and more heartwarming.
Upstairs, Lydia works out that Lenore was left behind by the Ghost Riders because she is a banshee, too. Lenore seems to feel guilty that she’s the only one left, and she thinks Lydia is accusing her of helping the Ghost Riders because they brought back her dead son. If they can do that, could the same thing have happened with Claudia? Lydia pleads with Lenore to not let her be the only one left behind, and this finally does the trick. Lenore opens the door, and all three seniors are given safe passage out of Canaan.
Now for the Baby Betas. Liam and Hayden’s clever plan to break into the staff supply closet for a lightning rod is interrupted by Mr. Douglas, who just happens to be working on a project in there. The kids sensibly decide to tell him everything and get him involved with the plan to catch a Ghost Rider. Clearly Liam isn’t winning any prizes for “best judgment” any time soon. The plan is to use the lightning rod to force the Ghost Riders to appear in a certain spot, and then trap it in the bunker. The trouble is that they’ll need a conduit strong enough to take away the Ghost Riders’ control over the lightning – which would require supernatural force. Something along the lines of the electrical powers that died with Josh, one of the chimeras from last season. Or did they?
Liam acknowledges that his plan is a bad one, but he’s determined to go through with it anyway. He and Hayden call up Noshiko for Kira’s sword, which is a great callback to one of our faves. But what they do with it is questionable, to say the least. Liam uses the sword to bring back none other than Theo. And he doesn’t exactly look happy to see the Baby Betas.
After a brief confrontation, Liam gets Theo on-board with the plan. Since Theo took Josh’s power, he should be able to use it now. But when Mr. Douglas turns on the generator, the electricity shocks Theo. He doesn’t have any of his stolen powers anymore. Sensing that his usefulness is about to expire, Theo – who does not want to be sent back with his dead sister – starts talking. He says he knows things about the Ghost Riders from his time with the Dread Doctors. He also knows things that “he’s betting [they] don’t,” which involves a very knowing look at the Hot Teacher. Oh, and he remembers Stiles.
Over at Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital, Argent isn’t exactly making a miraculous recovery from his Ghost Rider whip-inflicted injury. He’s scheduled for surgery, but he says that the toxin will only spread if the doctors try to cut it out. Argent tasks Melissa with keeping him out of the operating room and working on a Druid-based cure: nine herbs, which combat nine supernatural venoms. Oh, but if they’re combined the wrong way, Argent will only die faster. He talks Melissa through it, giving her the Celtic names for the herbs before passing out again. Being the badass that she is, Mama McCall pulls it off and makes some kind of green pesto healing paste. Argent will live another day.
Wrapping things up, we return to the McCall residence, where Liam and Hayden have brought Theo. Theo says that the Wild Hunt should definitely not be sticking around one place – so they must be stuck. As the seniors head back to Beacon Hills, they try to figure out why Stiles sent them there. Malia and Scott are more determined than ever to get the Riders to leave town, but Lydia says that they can’t. She realized something from her visions of Lenore: when the Ghost Riders ride out, their victims become Ghost Riders too. After this revelation, Scott and Malia have a not-so-sweet reunion with Theo. We can’t wait to see more of this dynamic.
Finally, we touch base with the Stilinskis. Something Scott said must have stuck with the Sheriff, because he’s pulling at loose threads – Claudia surviving frontotemporal dementia, for one. As he passes the wall that keeps pulling Lydia in, the Sheriff tears back the ripped piece of wallpaper… revealing an open space. Stiles’ room?!
The Verdict: This was an ambitious episode for Teen Wolf, really bringing home the influence of the ghost story genre. The twist on a traditional ghost town as an 80s neighborhood played nicely off the Western aesthetic of the Ghost Riders. Lenore and Caleb were certainly creepy, and their story revealed some critical information to the pack. Plus, “Ghosted” saw the return of both Noshiko and Theo. What’s not to love?
Best Scene: Lenore and Lydia’s conversation in Canaan. Though Lenore’s performance wasn’t 100% solid – we’ll take Lydia’s banshee screams any day – the two ladies’ chat brought some essential info to light. The end of this scene took a turn for the heartbreaking, with Lydia realizing just what she stands to lose if the pack isn’t able to stop the Ghost Riders: not only Stiles, but everyone and everything she knows and loves. She doesn’t want to be left behind. Holland Roden nailed this entire sequence.
Best Line: “Guess I’m back to classic Theo.”
Teen Wolf airs Tuesdays at 9:00pm ET on MTV.