Teen Wolf continues to confuse our minds and create terror in our souls with the Dread Doctors. In “Required Reading” the pack is losing it’s way and becoming increasingly disconnected. The Dread Doctors pulp novel may provide some answers, but no one seems eager to read it. In “Required Reading” our Teen Wolf pack members begin dealing with past memories being triggered, while trying to piece together what these images might mean.
The Dread Doctors have been busy creating more chimeras. Eight new holes are found in Beacon High School’s baseball field. Way to ruin the turf, Dread Doctors. Sheriff Stalinksi is investigating, with help from Stiles and Malia. Does he ever investigate a case without an assist from the pack? When Malia refers to the Dread Doctors, Sheriff Stilinski echos Kira’s sentiment in “A Novel Approach” and asks, “Are we really calling them that?” The Sheriff has deduced that Donovan is a chimera, but is not willing to assume he’s dead until he sees a body. Stiles has a guilty look, remembering how he muuurdered Donovan in the library with scaffolding. His dad comments, “You’re uncharacteristically quiet.” Stiles realizes that all these teens who have been transformed into chimeras must have something in common, something that made them special.
Deputy Parrish is teaching Lydia how to fight. He’s worried he’ll bust her stiches, but she takes off her jacket to show him she’s okay. This leads to more undressing. They spar again and Parrish is able to get her in a hold. As Parrish stands there holding Lydia he tells her she’ll get better, “Don’t worry. Your muscles have memory. With enough practice they’ll remember for you.” They stand there breathing heavily for an uncomfortably long time. At least we were uncomfortable. Dude, how many times do we have to say it? She’s in high school! Luckily the scene ends when Lydia suddenly has a memory of the Dread Doctors performing surgery.
At Beacon Hills High School Scott tells Theo to keep an eye out for abnormal behavior. That’s no easy task at BHHS. It sure seems like Theo’s a regular part of the pack now. When will Scott realize that Theo is pure evil? What happened to Stiles objecting to Theo’s malevolent presence? He must be too distracted by all his muuurder guilt. Scott and Theo talk about The Dread Doctors book.
Theo: “You remember Tracy went on a killing spree after reading that?”
Scott: “You think it’s a bad idea?”
Theo: “I think Malia almost getting run down by a car could’ve been bad. Well, that’s why you guys haven’t finished it, right?”
Scott: “We’re going to.”
Theo: “Scott, I came here hoping to find a pack. I wasn’t planning on watching one fall apart.”
Scott: “The book’s all we’ve got.”
Theo: “Then I’ll read it too.”
OMG! They haven’t finished reading the book yet??!! Do kids today just not read? Even the supposedly smart ones in advanced placement? Maybe they’d be more motivated if there was a YouTube video about the Dread Doctors. As Scott says, it’s all they’ve got, yet somehow they can’t manage to finish a 100 page pulp novel. Maybe it’s just too lowbrow for everyone except Malia.
Supernatural Book Club
They gather at Scott’s house for book club. It’s just like a real book club because no one’s actually read the book, except the awkward werecoyote girl, of course. They look down at the original and all the photocopied versions. Photocopies are so old school. Seems like someone would‘ve scanned the book and they’d be reading it on their computers. But if that happened then all the existing copies of the book won’t be able to be destroyed by fire in some future episode (probably by the flaming Parrish).
They talk about their concerns that the book will give them violent hallucinations, which seems based on Malia’s driving incident. Of course, Malia hasn’t told anyone she was having driving hallucinations well before she read The Dread Doctors. Malia is really funny in this scene, just the way she mentions that someone named Judy is killed in chapter 14. Watch out Dylan O’Brien, because Shelley Hennig is freakin’ hilarious. She’s clearly the Data of the group, as she strives to figure out human behavior since recently returning from the wild.
Lydia describes how looking at the cover triggers memories of the Dread Doctors, and Theo seems to be in agreement. What? Could it be that all of Theo’s evil action take place when he’s under control of the Dread Doctors, but in actuality he’s a good person? Nah. Malia says “If they did something to me, I want to know what it is.” Us too. Using dramatic music, Teen Wolf makes the process of picking up photocopies from a table the most exciting we’ve ever seen.
They sit around reading the book together. The main reactions are feeling tired and hungry. These kids really aren’t into reading. We think it’s reflection of the testing-based American school system that only focuses on subjects that schools as assessed on, like science and math, while devaluing educational basics like reading. Or else Dr. Valack is just a bad writer.
When Malia asks Stiles what happened to his shoulder, he’s evasive. Dude, she probably knows you’re lying, because she is a werecoyote, after all. In turn, Malia lies about what she remembered seeing during her driving hallucination, not telling him about the Desert Wolf shooting up her family’s car. Theo and Malia glance towards each other. That can’t be good.
It’s not until we see him at Club Sinema, that we realize that Liam hasn’t been invited to the book club. Maybe pulp novels are too complicated for today’s sophomores. Liam has come seeking his 6th grade enemy Hayden. He insists on paying her the $200 she yelled at her about in the episode Condition Terminal. This doesn’t make her happy. Nothing makes her happy. What would make us happy would be an end to Hayden’s angry tirades and glares. She tells Liam there’s nothing he can do to make for the 6th grade. What the hell happened in the 6th grade, already?
Everyone has fallen asleep at book club except the ever-vigilant Theo. He finds the sleeping Kira, who is speaking Japanese again. He records her words on his phone. What is this creep up to?
What’s Normal, Anyways?
As her AP Biology teacher talks about invasive species, Lydia identifies a potential chimera in the class. When classmate Sydney runs out of the room, after leaving her drop form on her teacher’s desk, Lydia follows. It turns out Sydney isn’t a chimera, but Lydia is triggered to recall a memory of her grandmother’s death at Eichen House from many years before. Apparently her banshee grandmother died from a hole drilled in her skull. Eichen House has never been a good place.
Mason finds Kira in the library, half asleep. She’s unable to read the Dread Doctors because it makes her too tired. Mason has been researching kitsune, and he tells her that fox spirits have difficulty with language. The Dread Doctors is confusing the fox part of her. We think it’s actually because she barely has a C average in English.
After being inspired earlier by Sydney, Scott decides to drop AP Biology. After shaming poor anxiety-ridden Sydney into dropping, teacher Mrs. Finch encourages Scott to stay in the class. Sexist much? Besides, all that AP homework is getting in the way of Scott’s super-sleuthing.
Suddenly Scott recalls a childhood memory of his dog being attacked by what we can only assume is a wolf. When the attack happened, Scott had an asthma attack and ended up in the hospital. The memory triggers an asthma attack in the present, which shouldn’t happen to a werewolf. Mean biology teacher Mrs. Finch calls for someone to get help.
Out on the field Mason and Brett hang out during Liam’s field hockey practice. They talk about how to identify chimeras amongst the student population. The field hockey team members aren’t the only ones using the field, as Hayden’s soccer team is also at practice. Liam and Hayden start acting flirty, but it quickly turns into angry flirting. Weird. Hayden can’t do anything without it becoming angry. She probably even has an angry dance. As they watch Liam and Hayden’s interaction, Mason tells Brett what happened in 6th grade, and honestly, not that big of a deal.
People come running out to the field asking if anyone has an inhaler. Liam realizes right away that Scott needs help. He’s such a good beta. He brings an inhaler to Scott, and flashes his wolfy eyes to snap Scott out of his memory. Scott uses the inhaler and his breathing returns to normal. He’ll be the embarrassment of the supernatural world when word gets out that a werewolf suffers from asthma.
Secrets and Lies
At the gym, Malia finds Theo alone working out. She wants to know why he hasn’t told Scott about her Desert Wolf flashback. She asks him what he wants and he tells her he wants to be in the pack. Isn’t he already a part of the pack? It sure seems like it. Theo gets suggestive and in response, Malia gets super aggro. We love how she just stares at people in her coyote way. Don’t mess with Malia,
Except for saving his alpha from an asthma attack, Liam seems to be doing his own thing, and it centers around Hayden. Don’t be a creeper, Liam. Hayden’s sister, who is the sheriff’s deputy we saw in “Dreamcatchers” and “Condition Terminal,” has come to the school to scold her little sister for misplacing her medication. Liam overhears that every bottle of Hayden’s medication costs $200.
In an unexpected turn of events Theo plays Scott his recording of Kira’s Japanese sleep talking. He’s had it translated and it turns out Kira is saying “I am the messenger of death.” Whoa. Wonder who the message is for. Scott confesses his fears to new BFF Theo:
“Something’s happening to her. She’s got this aura all around her. It’s hard to explain. Well… I guess it’s supposed to be part of her. But now it looks… Differently. Almost like it’s taking over. I don’t know. Something’s happening. And to be honest… I don’t know if I could trust her anymore.”
What the hell, Scott? You couldn’t talk to Stiles, Lydia, Malia, ok, well probably not Malia, but maybe Liam, before you shared all your secret fears with Theo? Here’s a thought: Tell Kira about her independently manifesting fox spirit. Doesn’t she deserve to know? Or how about take a page from Mason and do some research on kitsune to help your girlfriend. Jerk.
Meanwhile Liam is trying to be a good guy with Hayden, who isn’t even his girlfriend, but his 6th grade enemy. Take some lessons, Scott! Liam insists on paying back more of the money he shouldn’t really owe her. He tells Hayden he knows about the medication, and she admits she needs it because she had a kidney transplant a few years prior. The medication is expensive so she earns money to help her sister pay for it. She reluctantly takes his money.
He asks her to close her eyes, which is is not super excited to do and who can blame her when Liam is being a bit of creeper. When Hayden does close her eyes, Liam lights a glowstick near her eyes. When she open them, her eyes are glowing–like a chimera. Liam looks disappointed, but in a compassionate way, not in a creeper “Dang, just as things are getting’ friendly, turns out my girl’s an evil killing machine being controlled by them evil Docs.”
Lydia has realized that the memory of being operated on by the Dread Doctors isn’t hers, but she’s picking up on it with her banshee powers. Lydia and Stiles go to the hospital so Lydia can try to tap into her vision. She envisions the Dread Doctors operating on a teen whose insides are glowing blue. Stiles goes to the roof to find out why the power is off in the basement. Are these kids responsible for everything in Beacon Hills? Being on the roof triggers a memory of his mother, when she was hospitalized for dementia. Apparently during her illness Stiles mother believed her 10 year-old son was trying to kill her. That sucks. Sometimes it’s better to let the past be forgotten.
It turns out that Lydia’s vision of Dread Doc surgery was a memory of a chimera who likes to chew on electrical wires. Hence all the light problems at the hospital and the half eaten wires at the school (so it really wasn’t Kira causing the electrical problems).
Stiles is jarred from his memory by an attack from the electrical-chewing chimera. Theo comes to the rescue. After Theo kills the chimera (where was the silver stuff that comes out of their wounds?), Theo tries to bond with Stiles in his own weird way:
Theo: “Stiles… You can’t say anything. Please, don’t say anything.”
Scott: “Why not?”
Theo: “Because I never said anything about Donovan.”
Elsewhere in the hospital, one of the Dread Doctors is attacking Scott and triggering another asthma attack. How can that be? Malia steps in, allowing Melissa McCall to drag her son into the elevator and give him a shot. Malia makes it to the elevator just as Mrs. McCall shuts the doors. Thank god for the solid elevator doors at Beacon Hills hospital. They have saved Mrs. McCall and Scott’s pack more times than we can remember. Scott says, “We never should have read that book.” Does this mean they’ve actually finished reading The Dread Doctors? It’s about time.
Theo is trying to use secrets to connect to the pack, while also dividing them. No one confides in Stiles anymore, except Lydia. Then again, he’s in a muuurder shame spiral himself. They seem to be falling for Theo’s manipulation. They all need to sit down and have a game of truth or dare, or sumthin’. The pack is falling apart. A weakened pack makes them easier to defeat. Let’s hope Malia is the first to break the news of Theo’s games because she is the least human-like. We’re loving Malia lately and hope to see more of her awkward imitation of human behavior. She’s one tough shapeshifter. We think she could beat the tar out of Theo and we’re hoping to see it soon.
Each week of Season 5 Teen Wolf still does a great job scaring the bejeesus out of us with the Dread Doctors, while leaving us increasingly intrigued with understanding Theo’s real motives. “Required Reading” leaves the pack starting to spiral out of control.